Posted by: Jack Henry | February 15, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Sig-Alert

If you’ve ever spent time here in Southern California, you know that we refer to the freeways as “the 5” or “the 15,” as if they were royalty. I wrote about that last year in this article The I-5. We also tend to spend a lot of time on the road and in traffic, often listening to the radio to find out which paths to avoid.

Today I’d like to talk about something that is also related to traffic and SoCal: the Sig-Alert.

When you’re driving here, you might hear something like, “A Sig-Alert is reported on the I-8 toward Yuma, due to a brush fire.” So what does it mean? Does it mean a signal? Does it stand for “Stay In Garage”? According to the California Department of Transportation, this is the official history and meaning of the Sig-Alert:

“Sig-Alerts” are unique to Southern California. They came about in the 1940s when the L.A.P.D. got in the habit of alerting a local radio reporter, Loyd Sigmon, of bad car wrecks on city streets. These notifications became known as “Sig-Alerts.” Later Mr. Sigmon developed an electronic device that authorities could use to alert the media of disasters. Caltrans latched on to the term “Sig-Alert” and it has come to be known as any traffic incident that will tie up two or more lanes of a freeway for two or more hours.

So there you have it! Now you know that you definitely don’t want to drive towards any place that is announcing a Sig-Alert.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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