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SigAlert, one of Los Angeles's favorite slang terms!

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(noun) The announcement of a traffic jam

It is usually caused by a traffic accident or road spill that closes one or more lanes


Sam: ”You’re early. I heard there was a SigAlert on the 405, so I figured you’d be late. I need a few more minutes to get ready. Hope you don’t mind waiting?”

Robert: “I was listening to the radio when they said something about a SigAlert on the 405, a four car pile-up or something. Took another route. Guess waiting in your living room beats sitting in traffic.”


 When driving in Los Angeles and listening to the radio, it is important to know this slang term, as it could save you from a traffic headache. L.A. SigAlerts originated in 1955. The City of Angels has always had problems with traffic accidents and traffic jams. Radio stations wanted the LAPD to call them and notify them when lanes were closed, but because of the number of stations the LAPD was refusing to do this. Radio stations would then call the LAPD and the influx of calls would block the lines.

A broadcasting company executive, Lloyd C. Sigmon, came up with an automated system whereby each radio company would have a voicemail box that would receive the SigAlert. The LAPD would make one call and it would be received by every radio station. The original voicemail receiver had a red light that would alert the DJs to a new message and the unit itself had SigAlert written on the side of it. At least 2 or 3 Sigalerts are announced on LA radio stations every day.


Here is an example of it in the song Sig Alert by Emperor X: 

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