Traffic Warning: Hammertime Ahead

July 26, 2011

Electronic road signs offer invaluable help to drivers across the country. They tell us about impending weather conditions, possible roadwork ahead, dangers we may not be aware of, and other possible hazards. They also happen to be ridiculously easy to hack, involving as they do what amounts to a keyboard in the back with no password protection that allows you to type whatever you want.

Hence, we've been warned about zombie attacks, nude hackers, and stale '90s memes. But this might actually mark the first time we've ever been warned about a musician in the area. No, not Suge Knight, and he's not a musician anyway. We're talking about the untouchable himself: MC Hammer.

Why, precisely, an unknown prankster felt the need to warn anybody driving near the Willamette River that it was Hammertime has so far been undiscovered. It's obviously more important than the bridge construction that the sign was put up to warn drivers about, although you'd think the proliferation of road cones and work crews would be a big hint in that respect. Despite what you might think, this turned out to be absolutely harmless; nobody actually stopped, which tells you how respected these signs are.

It would be excessively irresponsible of us not to warn you that this is technically a form of vandalism and thus should not be done. You might get in trouble with the authorities. So you shouldn't Google for the user manual of the sign, which often includes instructions about how to reset the sign password, and you shouldn't try this yourself. Even though it'd be funny.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News