Most of us get more than a bit antsy when a police cruiser pulls up behind us, whirling its red and blue lights. To Ruth Kupperschlag of Alexandria, its arrival was a godsend.

Kupperschlag had a driving misadventure with a happy ending, which she shared in a letter to Capt. H.D. Northern, regional commander of the Virginia State Police, with a copy to Metro Scene.

About 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Kupperschlag was driving in heavy Capital Beltway traffic near Shirley Highway when her right front tire exploded. She managed to pull over.

"However, to my great relief, a state police car appeared within five minutes. The trooper set out flares, called the AAA" (American Automobile Association, of which Kupperschlag is a member) and assured her security until its service truck arrived.

Kupperschlag was "badly shaken" by the episode and found it "very comforting to have the flashing lights of the state police car with me."

Her point is good, but it shouldn't be limited to those terrific Virginia troopers. Sure, the cops -- of whatever jurisdiction -- are looking for law violators, but after decades as a reporter, I know they're also looking for opportunities to help.