A few days ago it took a friend 2 hours to drive 17 miles on absurdly traffic-choked LA freeways.

I always check the LA traffic map before leaving home. Sometimes the little markers are mostly green. This means traffic is moving at least a whopping 35 mph. The night of her trip, most lights were yellow and red. This meant traffic was abominable.

If you live in L.A., check this map often. And, yes, you can access the map on a cell phone, though they advise you not do so while driving, else you become an accident marker on the traffic map!
In L.A., traffic reports are called SigAlerts, “Sigalerts are named after an early traffic reporter in Los Angeles, Loyd Sigmon”, who bought radio station KMPC in 1953 along with Gene Autry.

He invented a shortwave gadget that was alerted when LAPD issued a traffic alert, and thus the SigAlert was born.

The first “Sigmon traffic alert” was broadcast on September 5, 1955.  It had the unintended effect of CAUSING a traffic jam, as the message was sent out requesting any available doctors and nurses to respond to a train derailment outside L.A.’s Union Station.  Nobody realized how many doctors and nurses would rush to the scene and tie things up even worse.

<Sigmon> found it all a bit amusing, telling a Los Angeles Times reporter, “I ran a multimillion-dollar corporation, but it’s the SigAlert that people remember me for.”

And here’s 400 real time California traffic cameras you can watch on the Internet.