A Who a-What?!


Mike Inouye A Who a-What?!

A Sig Alert.

A what?

A Sig Alert.

You will not get by in lane one,
You will not get by. That’s no fun.
The backup stretches with no end.
The Sig Alert’s your only friend.

I know… it sounds more like something from a Dr. Seuss book than from a traffic report. Can we really take something like that seriously?

Well, I meant what I said.
I said what I meant.
A Sig Alert matters, one hundred percent.

During my reports, I try to mention that a Sig Alert is a special warning issued when traffic is expected to be severely impacted through an area for 30 minutes or more. (That’s what our friends at CHP say in their glossary.)

I tell you about Sig Alerts so that you’ll know what areas to AVOID, and what delays you’ll have to expect as you prepare to head out your door weekday mornings.

But how did we get this term?

Legend has it the phrase was coined by Los Angeles-area radio reporter, Loyd Sigmon, in the 1940s. The LA Times published a very nice article about him upon his passing in 2004. You can read it here.

Though Mr. Sigmon has passed, his legacy lives on through his many contributions to the systems that impact our everyday life; including the phrase commuters all over California dread hearing. The list is impressive but for my morning reports you need only remember this:

Sig Alert = Problems for Your Commute

Heck, since this was a term he made up, maybe I should start issuing “Mikey’s No Ways,” ‘cuz there’s no way you’re zipping thru those areas.


Mike Inouye
NBC11 Traffic Anchor


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