When and How to Use a Radar Detector

Once you learn how to use a radar detector, you can feel more confident about avoiding speed traps set up by law enforcement officers using radar guns and laser guns. However, car radar detectors don't offer a guarantee that you will never receive a speeding ticket. 

What Radar Detectors Do
A radar detector is designed to alert the driver, via a sound or light, that signals similar to those of a police radar gun are nearby. The radar detector tunes into the same radio frequencies that radar guns use. At their best, radar detectors can sniff out incoming radar signals before they can be used to measure your speed, giving you a chance to slow down.

Radar detectors work best when there is moderate traffic, as the police officer will be using the radar gun on various cars, generating a lot of radio waves in the area. When your radar detector identifies some signals, you can slow down without being detected.

What Radar Detectors Don't Do
A radar detector is not an automatic guarantee that you'll never be caught speeding. A radar detector won't detect radar guns in the area that have not transmitted a signal; the device has to be operating. A car radar detector will be less valuable on a long stretch of road with few cars, where there are fewer radio signals to detect. In urban areas or on winding, hilly roads, police can outwit radar detectors by using geography or structures to hide their radar signals. In these cases, it's best to slow down, particularly if there's a corner, curve or steep grade change ahead.

POP radar, which police can turn on and off, generally has a shorter warning range than always-on radar. Radar detectors can't pick up some of the newer methods that police use to catch speeders, such as laser guns. However, radar detectors can work alongside laser detectors with no interference.

Responsible Driving
Having a radar detector in the car should never give you the sense that you are able to drive recklessly or illegally. Rather than use the detector to speed every time you hit the road, think of it as a tool to remind you to obey local traffic laws and to drive safely at all times.

Remember, too, that radar detectors are illegal in some states. Flaunting one by mounting it on your windshield could get you pulled over and leave you with no radar detector and a hefty fine.

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If a radar detector is legal in your area, it's a good way to keep from getting caught in a speed trap. Look for a high range, sensitivity to all of the Ka band and the ability to jam speed lasers.

Imagine driving down the highway and seeing in your back mirror red and blue flashing lights and hearing that siren that makes every driver's heart pump a little harder. You realize you are being pulled over and during the holidays, the police are out in full force to enforce traffic laws. However, everyone knows that all speeders are not pulled over so speed limits cannot be "strictly" enforced.

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