What is a Radar Detector?
In today’s modern society the police force has several different options available to them when trying to catch people who are not following the law to an exact amount. The tool most widely used for this is the radar gun. The detector is used to catch drivers that are going over the posted speed limit on the road in which they are traveling.
The legality of this (or maybe the constitutionality of it) is a slippery topic, and it can certainly be called into question, but it does not change the fact that these devices are being used in mass numbers across the United States.
Whether it is a cop car sneakily parked behind large tree branches so he can catch unsuspecting drivers, speed cameras posted throughout our interstates, and even aircraft enforced speed limits. You can be sure that somebody out there is looking to catch drivers speeding to bolster their precincts bottom line.
But it’s not all bad for us as drivers; we do have a device that’s sole purpose is expressly meant to counter balance the over the top measures our police force uses to catch us speeding. This lovely device is called the “Radar Detector.”
Radar detectors have been in use since the 1970’s, and they do exactly what the name for them suggest they would do: detect radar guns. But to understand why they work, which ones work best, and how to utilize them to their fullest potential; you first need to know how these radar guns’ work.
Police Radar Guns
The radar guns used by the police are handheld Doppler radar units that measure the speed of objects that they are being pointed at (these can also be mounted on objects such as vehicles or poles on the side of the road).
They work by sending out a narrow radio transmission (for accuracy), and once that transfer hits its intended target, it sends back the transmission and utilizes the Doppler effect to determine what speed the vehicle is traveling at.
Due to the limitations that come with small radar units, the police force has strayed away from using radar guns and switched to the use of LIDAR guns, beginning in the early 2000’s. This is the reason you may have heard complaints from radar detector owners of not getting sufficient warning before having their speed detected.
Subsequently, the radar detector industry has been forced to come up with more innovative ways to be more efficient in this state of electronic warfare between our civilians and the government.
Out of necessity radar detector manufacturers have begun to develop more sophisticated devices to counter act the new technologies that are being introduced by the police force. For instance, they have implemented 360-degree measurements to be able to detect traps coming from all directions.
Recent technology has allowed today’s radar detectors to be able to operate without being detected by the police (this is an absolute must if you are in a state that deems radar detectors illegal). This technology is called VG-2 protection.
VG-2: How it Works and How it is Counteracted
VG-2 is the system that police use to determine who is utilizing radar detecting technology in their vehicles. It works by measuring the fluctuation in frequencies of radio waves to determine whether or not a radar detector is currently in use.
Often this technology is referred to as radar detector detectors (we will stick to calling it VG-2 for the sake of simplicity).
The way companies like Cobra and Escort utilize a technology that can determine when the VG-2 system is being used. When detecting police radar detector detectors, your radar detector will turn itself off (you should now be able to see why it’s easier to use the term VG-2).
This is called stealth VG-2, and its purpose is to give you the warning and then shut down so that it cannot be registered as being in use.
There are also some units that provide “invisible detection” these are costlier than stealth protectors but they are shielded RDD (radar detector detectors), so they continue operating without the threat of being discovered, providing more consistent protection and giving you more confidence while driving.
Radars with GPS (Global Positioning System)
Today, many devices are beginning to come equipped with GPS. This is a powerful tool for helping the driver to avoid speeding tickets.
The GPS capability allows the unit to remember areas that you have been in the past where radar detection was being used, it can also alert you when you when the vehicles ahead of you have drastically reduced in speed (often indicating speed traps) so you can react accordingly.
Another great way GPS is utilized in these units is to send an audible warning when you are going much faster than the speed limit or the vehicles around you. This is perfect for drivers who don’t always recognize just how fast they are going (looking at you muscle car owners).
GPS also can adjust sensitivity relative to the speed you are traveling so that it won’t detect radars when it is unnecessary.
Smart Phone Capabilities
The newest addition to radar detectors is the ability to be paired with your smart phone. This is maybe the single best addition because it allows users to network with each other, giving real time updates of where there are speed traps.
Remember those days when we would communicate with other drivers by flashing our lights when there was an upcoming speed trap? It works just like that, except now you can alert more people.
Wrap – Up
Radar detectors have almost become a necessity for today’s driver. Speed traps are becoming increasingly more widespread, and with the advent of drones, the police force doesn’t even have to man these traps anymore.
It may seem to some that if you follow the laws, then you will be okay, but maybe that isn’t the right way to think of it. The more technology improves, the more the government uses it for the purpose of controlling the civilian population.
Radar detectors are one of the only ways we can take back some of our privacy. If the police want to catch us speeding, let’s make them work for it.