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How Accurate Are Radar Detectors?

How Accurate Are Radar Detectors

If a radar gun is in operation, then will your radar detector surely catch it? And what about false positives and instant-on radar guns? In this article, learn the answers to how accurate are radar detectors and discover features that help you avoid the annoying and irrelevant radar alerts as well as the ones that catch you by surprise.

How Accurate Are Radar Detectors?

Let’s look at radar detectors at multiple angles to answer the question:

  • Frequency compatibility

As you may already know, radar guns operate on different bands of radio frequencies. There’s the X, K, and Ka bands. Low-frequency and high-powered X-band radar guns are using 8.0 to 12.0 GHz. Higher frequency K-band radar guns, on the other hand, utilize 24.050 to 24.250 GHz. Meanwhile, Ka-band radar guns are operating on a much higher frequency at 26.5 to 40 GHz.

So, how does the bandwidth affect the accuracy of radar detectors? Not much really, except that your radar detector has to be tuned in to the same frequency or is working on the same plane to detect a radar gun signal within your perimeter.

What matters more than frequency compatibility—that is, a Ka-band radar detector for a Ka-band radar gun, for example—is the device’s ability to operate across bandwidths. Today, it’s not hard to find one that can detect radar guns operating in the X-, K-, and Ka-bands altogether. You can even have a detector that catches all radar signals and laser, too.

  • Frequency of false positives

Radar technology is not used reserved to radar guns and detectors. It is used in automatic door openers and anti-collision systems in cars, among others. Thus, when you get a beep in your device, it may just be that car beside you or the automatic door of a grocery store you just passed by en route–or radar-gun-trotting police aiming at your car!

So, if you’re talking about accuracy—meaning, knowing exactly that it’s a police radar gun and not any other radar-equipped object—you may have a problem in this area. Usually, radar detectors get false positives from objects emitting signals in the X-band since that’s more popularly used in a range of technologies.

Because of that, some drivers used to turn off the X-band frequency in their radar detector to avoid the annoying beeping sound of a false alert. However, it could work against them, especially with police departments that capitalize on this tendency.

Thankfully, some radar detector manufacturers have found a workaround for the problem. They have integrated anti-falsing systems that filter out signals from automatic doors, vehicles with anti-collision systems, and the like.

Additionally, there are also updateable databases and GPS lockout systems that work like a built-in Waze app in the device. It allows your radar detector to learn and remember false positives from automatic doors and store information as to where the speed traps are, including speed and red-light cameras.

Anti-falsing systems and GPS lockouts are features that you should be looking at.

  • Instant-on or constant-on

Police radar guns operate in two modes. The first one is constant-on, meaning it is continuously transmitting a signal while in operation. This type is pretty easy to detect. An X-band radar gun in this mode, for example, can be detected by your device from up to a four-mile distance, providing you with sufficient warning.

The second mode is instant-on, which allows the police to operate off the radar, so to speak because a radar detector won’t detect it unless it has been set off. For most targeted vehicles equipped with a radar detector, any response to avoid an overspeeding reading would have proven to be too late by then. This technology grew in popularity in the 1980s.

Before there’s no way to beat an instant-on radar gun unless you’re not a direct target and your radar detector somehow caught the signal scatter from the targeted vehicle. Today, there are radar detectors that will buy you a small window to respond to instant-on radar guns.

A radar detector with an instant-on ready technology is something that you should consider. Without it, you will be left at the mercy of instant-on radar guns even if your car’s equipped with a radar detector and more so if it doesn’t have an anti-falsing system or GPS lockout as a fallback.

So, if we talk about accuracy in the sense that a radar detector can detect an instant-on or constant-on radar gun, it’s there as long as they’re operating on the same band. But if you mean not-taking-you-by-surprise kind of accuracy, it can be different with various radar detectors. And very few are cut out for the job—for instant-on radar gun detection, that is.

  • Beam Width

The last aspect that we should inspect is beam width. Imagine it as the width of a giant sword. The bigger the width of the sword, the more cars it can hit, including the ones beside it. The smaller the width of the sword, the more precise it is and the less “collateral damage.”

It’s the same with radar guns. In general, the older X-band radar guns are known for having the widest width detection capability among radar guns. Additionally, a laser gun will have a smaller beam width than X-, K-, and Ka-band radar guns. You can say it’s the fencing sword of speed-reading guns.

Thus, an old X-band radar gun that has a beam width of 65 degrees can read the speed of a car traveling on a lonely highway even without directly pointing it at the vehicle. However, the case can be problematic if the vehicle is driving side-by-side another vehicle or if you add in more cars in the picture.

In any case, your radar detector can catch the radar signal, provided it’s in the same frequency. Whether you’re a direct or indirect target, your radar detector will sense the signal and set off the alarm.

But here you’ll find a loophole. Should you find yourself getting an overspeeding ticket from a radar gun, and you’re sharing the road with many other cars, it can be argued that the speed of the nearby vehicle was picked up by the wide beam, which is possible, too.

Still, that can be an uphill battle as courts tend to give more weight to the testimony of the police officer. Nevertheless, if we talk about radar detector accuracy in terms of bandwidth, it’s there. Directly or indirectly targeted, a vehicle with compatible radar detector should catch the signals fired by a radar gun.

Final Thoughts

So, how accurate are radar detectors? We’d say pretty accurate if you’re just looking at it being able to catch radar signals in general. As long as it’s working at the same frequency as the radar gun used in the area, a compatible radar detector should set off an alarm—even if it’s not coming from a police radar gun. And regardless of a radar-equipped vehicle being directly or indirectly targeted, it should catch radar signals nearby.

Still, you’d want a radar detector that will go off only at relevant radar signals or those that are speed-reading related. For this, you’d want to look at special features such as anti-falsing filtering systems, GPS lockouts, and instant-on readiness.

Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector Product Review

Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector Product Review

With the developments in new radar and laser technology since its conception, both on the law enforcement and drivers’ side, any radar or laser detector just won’t do today. Imagine using an X- or K-band radar detector, for example, in an area where police use Ka-band or laser speed guns. That would make for a pretty useless device!

How about one that gives you false positives from automatic doors, nearby cars, and the like? Downright annoying to say the least that it’s best just to turn off! And with the police department constantly upping their game, a modern, versatile, updateable detector is in order. And if it’s affordable, that would be great, too.

Today, we’re looking at the Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector. Does it make for a reliable and practical choice in today’s road tech environment? Read on and learn from this product review.

Features

The Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector features:

• Anti-falsing circuitry and updateable in-vehicle technology (IVT)

Hate having to slow down only to find out you are getting alerts from blind spot and collision avoidance systems, garage door openers, and other radar detectors? The Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector takes care of that problem for you! It comes with a false alert filter system that sorts out irrelevant radar detector systems. Plus, it’s updateable! So, you only have to slow down when there is a legit reason to do so.

• 2-mile range

This laser or radar gun detector can detect speed traps that are at least two miles away. This long range, however, can be shortened by range blocks such as a hill or a curve on the road.

• Instant-on ready

While instant-on ready radar or laser guns remain to be a challenge to laser and radar detectors in general, the Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector comes with a quicker reflex for such devices. It buys you a small window to react to these fast and troublesome traps.

• Front and rear protection

This device is equipped with an advanced laser eye sensor that catches police taking a speed reading of you from the front or while tailing you from behind. Besides laser signals, this radar detector can detect X, K, and Ka bands. On top of that, it also warns you of radar detector detectors by catching VG-2 signals.

• Voice alert

Keep your eyes on the road without missing any alerts. The Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector comes with audible and easy-to-understand voice announcements, saving you seconds to react in time and avoid a ticket. Voice alerts may be in English or Spanish.

• OLED display

Aside from an audible voice alert system, this laser and radar detector comes with a bright, high-quality display. It provides you with band identification and numeric signal strength information to tell you what signal you’re dealing with and its relative proximity.

Values displayed are easy on the eyes under any lighting condition. It can even be dimmed to enhance night driving visibility.

• One-year limited warranty

The Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector is backed with a limited warranty for 12 months when bought from approved sellers. It comes with a power cord, windshield mount, and a hook-and-loop fastener.

Pros

  • Excellent false alert filtering system especially with cars
  • Good range detection
  • Can detect a variety of speed-reading guns, from radar to laser
  • Provides some window to react to instant-on devices
  • Comes with English and Spanish voice alert options
  • Offers good front and back protection
  • Provides traffic cam updates
  • Good value at a low price

Cons

  • No GPS lockout and may give false alerts near automatic doors
  • Shorter range radar or laser detection on the sides
  • Voice alert doesn’t tell you what frequency is used
  • Cannot be manually set to the frequency police use in the area

Comparison

  • Uniden DFR7 Radar/Laser Detector

Happy with the Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector? Before you make the commitment, Uniden DFR7 Radar/Laser Detector is also worth checking out. First off, it comes with a built-in GPS that’s obviously absent in the product-in-review. This gives the device an extra level of protection and filtering system. It is able to alert you of red-light cameras and speed cameras and filter out automatic doors en route.

However, making the device remember false alerts is actually partly manual. When you encounter a stationary false alert such as that of an automatic door, you have to press the mute button twice for the device to learn and remember it as such. Still, that’s better than having the device beep each time you pass by an ID-ed false alert. As for red light and speed cameras, the device can do it for you through its updateable database.

Of course, with the extra layer of protection and more effective false alert filtering system, the Uniden DFR7 Radar/Laser Detector comes with a heftier price tag. So if you want a quieter ride that remains vigilant of speed traps, then this one might be for you.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a radar and laser detector that gets the job done well without costing you an arm and a leg, then the Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector makes for a good choice. You’ll particularly love the relatively quiet driving experience it offers you through its effective anti-falsing circuitry and updateable in-vehicle technology (IVT). It won’t go off with every radar system you encounter.

Another thing you’ll love about the product-in-review is that it buys you some time to react to instant-on speed guns, which is actually the weak spot of many radar and laser detectors. While it does not entirely speed-trap-proof your vehicle to such devices, a little window frame is always better than none.

Had the Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector came with a GPS lockout like the pricier Uniden DFR7 Radar/Laser Detector, it would have been perfect. Of course, the key word there is ‘pricier.' As it is, for its price point, the Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector offers you efficient detection and a pleasurably quieter ride than most devices of its range.

Do Radar Detectors Still Work: Factors You Need to Consider

Do Radar Detectors Still Work

There have been lots of arguments about the effectiveness of radar detectors, especially now that traffic technology is progressing. Also, the answer to the question “Do radar detectors still work?” depends on a lot of factors. Thus, to fully understand this and to avoid getting a speeding ticket, we need to update our knowledge of the latest technology used by both the state’s police department and by radar detector manufacturers.

What Are the Laws and Interferences of the Land?

Where you live or travel to the most is a big factor when judging whether a radar detector can do its job effectively and whether it is legal to use one at all. As of this writing, radar detectors are legal in most states in the USA, except for Washington DC and Virginia. Officers there can confiscate your detector, and you’ll be paying more-or-less a $400 fine for possessing such.

Some states also restrict the use of radar detectors for commercial vehicles. There are also some states, like Minnesota, where you can get a ticket for mounting anything to your windshield that obstructs your view, so be very careful where you place a radar detector.

When it comes to interferences, radar detectors simply pick up radio waves from an enforcer’s radar gun and alert the driver if it detects those radio wave signals. If you drive in an area where there are establishments around that uses radar technology, such as garage door openers and burglar alarms, it’s highly likely that you will get a false alarm from your detector.

In this case, your radar detector sure works, but it may be inaccurate. Fortunately, there are now radar detectors in the market that can filter these false signals.

What Are the Devices and Tactics Used by the Cops?

The use of high-tech speed detection equipment such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and Instant-On radar (also known as RF-hold or IO radar) is becoming more prevalent. This is why most drivers think that radar detectors don’t work anymore.

LIDAR is similar to radar guns, but instead of radar, it emits a laser beam. Radar has a far-reaching beam, making it difficult to distinguish which specific vehicle the device had read, especially if multiple vehicles enter the stream at the same time.

LIDAR has a narrower beam, so it’s easier for police officers to target a speeding vehicle. One tactic a driver can use is to drive with other vehicles, preferably behind some, to draw the aim of the radar so that you get an early warning from the radar detector. However, this tactic may now work if the police officers use other methods and devices aside from LIDAR, such as pacing and VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder).

There are also radar units that can be operated in the Instant-on mode, which means that the radar is on, but it is not transmitting a beam so it cannot be detected. The police officer only switches the beam on when the target is within range.

In usually less than a second, the radar has already calculated the speed. Sure, a radar detector can detect the beams as soon as the officer switches his radar’s beams on, but it may be too late for the target to respond and slow down.

What Are the Best Radar Detectors?

Technology is only as good as our understanding of it. Just like any tool, radar detectors are tools with limitations, so it is only wise to invest in a radar detector that matches the current technology of speed detection devices used by police officers in your area.

A quick research on radar detector buying guides will tell you that, in most cases, the amount you spend on a detector is in direct correlation to how well it works. Radar detectors that are worth a few hundred dollars, such as those made by Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics, will usually be worth their price and may actually save you from the higher costs of speeding tickets and court fees.

It is also important to remember to update your detector so that you’ll have the latest technology offered. Don’t bother getting the cheaper ones, as they may not match the technology used by traffic enforcers.

The pricier detectors also have features such as effective filtering and false signal rejection, rather than mere radar sensitivity. They can distinguish true police radar from junk signals. Further, if you incorporate things like WAZE or Escort Live, you can have pretty good protection.

Take note though that a decent radar detector is not a license to speed but to help drivers get informed of the traffic environment around them. The teamwork of WAZE or Escort Live and a state-of-the-art detector can be your best bet to avoid radar.

Do Radar Detectors Still Work?

In order to make radar detectors work to your advantage, you must have at least a basic knowledge of each of the factors above. Placing faith in technology we don’t entirely understand can lead to a lot more than tickets.

First, you have to be familiar with the place where you’ll be driving. If you’re going to a place you’ve never been before, research beforehand the laws that apply to radar detectors. You should also know if there are nearby establishments that may interfere with your radar detector’s detection. This is also where info-sharing apps can be useful since you can know precisely where you are most likely to get a speed trap or be targeted with radar.

Second, your safest bet would be to get a modern radar detector with high-performing features. They can be a bit expensive, but if you tend to speed, it is absolutely worth it. Do not waste money on cheaper ones as they will, most of the time, fail to do their jobs. Getting the most expensive radar detector does not guarantee you of success in not getting caught for speeding. Of course, you have to learn how they work and what tactics the police use to combat their use.

Conclusion

The answer to the question "Do radar detectors still work?" is that radar detectors still work effectively if you, the driver, equips yourself with knowledge of the area and match your driving abilities with the traffic enforcers’ speed detection methods. Not all drivers have the ability to make a quick and informed judgment of what lies ahead and the patience to stay vigilant on the road. Radar detectors are, on their own, not a panacea to avoiding radar and speeding tickets.

What Does Laser Alert Mean on a Radar Detector?

What Does Laser Alert Mean on a Radar Detector

In the past, radar detectors can only give either an X, K, Ka, or Ku band alert, but nowadays, most modern detectors already come with a laser alert feature, and most of you might not yet be aware what does a laser alert mean on a radar detector. Hence, we will give you an overview of the five different bands in which police speed guns operate, then provide you the different meanings of laser alert.

What Are the Different Bands Used by Police Officers?

Before we dive into the world of laser-operated speed detection, it is important to understand the different bands used by police officers before this new technology was introduced.

1. X Band

Since many establishments use equipment, such as burglar alarms and supermarket doors, which also operates on this band and creates frequent false alarms, a lot of people now advocate turning the X band alerts off on their radar detectors. Unless you drive around a territory that you know very well or had made sure that police officers in the area are not using the old X band radar anymore, it is not recommended to turn it off just yet. This is because some police departments know that many people turn it off for the same reason and so they use X band radar guns on purpose to catch speed violators.

2. K Band

This band is in the 18 to 26.5 GHz range and was formerly a reliable warning of radar until supermarket door sensors and other equipment operating on K bands began corrupting it. As such, radar detectors may send false K band alerts as well, but unlike the X band, it is not that common, so police continue to operate on this band together with the Ka band.

3. Ka Band

This band, with a frequency ranging from 26.5 to 40 GHz, is the latest type of band. If your radar detector is kind of obsolete, it may find it hard to detect Ka bands. That is why police officers are more inclined to use speed radar guns operating on Ka band, and this is also why you should send your radar detector for an update or upgrade to a more high-tech one.

4. Ku Band

This band ranges from 12 to 18 GHz, though for radar enforcement, it is usually set at 13.45 GHz. This is more commonly used in Europe and is common in the USA.

5. Laser Band

Unlike the four bands mentioned above, which are transmitted through radio waves, laser speed guns, also referred to as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), use light to detect an object's speed. Compared to radar, LIDAR emits a narrower beam, making it easier for police officers to target a speeding vehicle.

What Does Laser Alert Mean on a Radar Detector?

Now that we know the different bands transmitted by speed guns, we can now better understand how radar detectors pick up these bands, specifically LIDAR.

Unlike traffic radar, LIDAR can only be used in the "instant-on" mode, which means that a radar detector with laser alert cannot detect LIDAR until the officer pulls the trigger to clock it, usually when the target vehicle is already nearby. If such is the case, then what does laser alert mean on a radar detector and how can it alert you beforehand?

A laser alert is simply a feature in radar detectors that alerts a driver when it detects LIDAR. Once a LIDAR gun has been aimed at you, that’s the only time your radar detector can give you a laser alert, which may already be too late for you to take action as your speed has already been measured.

A detector with one laser sensor, though more costly, can detect laser beams in front of you, but not behind you or off to the sides. Models with 360-degree laser detection have two sensors that can also detect laser pulses behind and either side of your vehicle.

Making the Best out of Laser Alerts

The lightning-fast accuracy of a LIDAR speed gun makes it nearly impossible for a radar detector to do its job effectively. However, it is still better to have a laser alert feature than none at all since the use of the newer LIDAR technology is becoming prevalent already in many state police departments.

It may not save you on its own, but coupled with a jammer, community threat-sharing apps like Waze and Escort Live, proper strategy, and constant vigilance on the road, it can help you be better prepared and forewarned.

1. Laser Jammers

Some say that the only real defense against laser is a jammer, which is an electronic device that aims to confuse an officer’s speed gun by sending out a light on the same wavelength the gun emitted but at a higher intensity. The use of laser jammers is restricted in several states in the USA, so look up before switching it on. You also have to switch it off at once so that your jamming is not obvious.

2. Info-Sharing or Community Threat-Sharing Apps

One of the recent features that most top radar detectors have is the ability to share information with other radar detector users through a community threat-sharing app. To do this, your radar detector must connect to your smartphone so that you can download and use your detector’s partner app such as Cobra iRadar, Waze, or Escort Live; likewise, GPS must be installed.

Through these apps, you can tag GPS locations for the presence of active laser guns, speed traps, and speed cameras, and vice versa. That way, you can see when and where other users have tagged active lasers. Belonging to such a community can make you feel more informed and secured.

3. Causes of False Laser Alerts

Just like radar, there are also instances when a LIDAR not coming from a police laser gun is detected by your radar detector; thus, giving you false laser alerts. To distinguish whether a laser alert is a false or a genuine alarm, know which things also emit laser so that you can look out for them. Some of these things include:

  • Bright lights: A low setting sun or when the sun is low on the horizon.
  • Vehicles with laser-guided cruise control: These are vehicles with a laser-based system for blind spot monitoring.
  • LED tail lights: Rain-sensing windshields where sensors are typically mounted in the rearview mirror.
  • Navigation devices mounted too close to a high-voltage backlit LCD screen
  • Some of the latest cell phones
  • Some of the major and larger airports

What Does It Mean?

To sum it up, a laser alert on a radar detector may mean two things.

First, it could mean that your detector has picked up LIDAR from a police laser speed gun, and during which, you should act quickly to mitigate the possible risk of getting caught for speeding. Proper timing of using a laser jammer, checking info-sharing apps from time to time, and remaining alert on the road are things that can help you maximize the effectiveness of a laser alert.

Second, it could also mean that your detector has picked up LIDAR from things other than that of a police speed gun. You will know if it’s a false laser alert if you notice that there are no patrols around and aiming at you. In that case, you can assume that the laser alert could be just because of some nearby device also operating on LIDAR, or just the sun.

Conclusion

Knowing what does laser alert mean on a radar detector and distinguishing between the two, genuine laser alert versus false laser alert, is essential so that you’ll know how to respond— either take proper, immediate action or just shrug it off.

Have a peaceful driving journey and speed safely!

What Does a Radar Detector Do and What Else Is There to Know?

What Does a Radar Detector Do

Ever wonder why petrol heads and gear nuts often take time to consider which radar detector would best fit their needs and blend in with their dashboard? Ever wondered what does a radar detector do exactly and what else is there to know about this futuristic device?

This electronic device that often sits at the center of the dashboard usually gets the flak from conservatives who feel that it only enables individuals who are only out to break the law and cause trouble for everybody else. Their concerns are not really off track, but not everybody who wants or is using a radar detector has a criminal mind to speak off; some of them just want to get to their destinations faster.

What Does a Radar Detector Do?

In a nutshell, radar detectors filter out radio waves until only the signal profiles of the different frequencies that law enforcement agencies use with their radar guns are left. Once radar detectors receive signals from the said frequencies, they then notify the driver that they are nearing or have passed an area that is being monitored for speeding and that the driver should slow down to avoid being apprehended.

Speed detectors work by sending out radar or laser beams through the air and whatever is reflected towards the source is measured for its relative distance and the speed to which it approaches the point of origin. This effectively measures the running speed of a target object, and this is an accurate way of catching speedsters and people who are up to no good, with their cars, of course.

The signals that radar guns send out usually travel in a straight line and stops once it hits an object going in a different direction. This means that moving vehicles directly behind another moving vehicle has a lower chance of being detected. This also means that radar guns are ineffective if placed near corners or when there is a hill in its path.

Types of Radar Guns

Commonly, police radar gun is the handheld radar speed gun that you would usually see in movies and police serials. It's shaped like a gun, hence the name, and consists of a radio transmitter and a receiver. It applies the basic principle used for radar systems--sending out a radio signal in a narrow beam and then parsing the returned signals via the receiver through a computer that calculates the distance and estimated speed of an oncoming object.

Radar guns can come in the following models:

  • Moving radar guns

These radar guns are used while the person holding it or the vehicle it is installed in is motion. This model contains a more complex algorithm as it can compute the relative distance and speed of the target while it is in motion.

  • Stationary radar guns

These radar guns are often used while the operator is parked somewhere, maybe on a bridge spanning across a freeway or behind a huge ad that hides them from aspiring speedsters.

  • Directional radar guns

These radar guns are used to measure the relative speed and distance of vehicles moving towards and past a fixed point. This kind of radar gun can be modified to block out signals coming from the opposite direction to address false alarms.

Types of Radar Detectors

On the other side of the road lies radar detectors, the chief nemesis of radar guns and the best device in a gear head's arsenal. These devices can be best classified into three types:

  • Corded radar detectors

These radar detectors are typically plugged into the cigarette lighter port of your vehicle and then mounted on the windshield using suction cups. Corded radar detectors are easy to install and can detect all frequencies and do not need batteries.

  • Cordless radar detectors

These radar detectors are just like corded detectors sans the cord. They are also mounted on the windshield using suctions cups although cordless detectors have a shorter range and battery life. It is not that effective when detecting POP frequency signals.

  • Remote Mounted radar detectors

These radar detectors often include signal jammers in its features and are usually mounted by professionals as it can be hidden from plain sight. Most remote mounted detectors are undetectable, almost stealth-like even.

Each of these three radar detector types may have their set of features that vary from model to model, maker to maker.

Misconceptions About Radar Detectors

Aside from knowing what does a radar detector do, understanding the different misconceptions about radar detectors can also be worth your while, especially in the following:

  • Radar detectors contribute to the rising incidence of speeding. Going over the speed limit is a conscious effort to go over the limit. No technology can force you to push that pedal without your consent and adding a radar detector to your dashboard smorgasbord wouldn't make any difference when it comes to flooring it or slowing things down.
  • Radar detectors are illegal. In some cities radar detectors are illegal, but it is slowly being embraced as a means to address speeding, in a reverse-psychology kind-of-way.
  • Owning a radar detector makes you dangerous. Similar to its contributing to speeding, owning a radar detector does not make you a criminal per se. It's what you do with it that defines that fine line between criminally aggressive speeding and speeding for the sake of saving time.
  • Radar detectors equal radar jammers. Not all radar detectors would have radar jammers that aim to interfere with all frequencies, which is illegal. Radar detectors only detect and notify, although newer models tend to have jammers hidden as a feature.
  • Radar detectors can save you from speeding tickets. Well, it can and it cannot. It really depends on the scenario as radar guns also evolve together with radar detectors. There are also several factors that affect how effective a radar gun would work.

Radar detectors are a good way for drivers to remind themselves of how fast they are going, so they can pay close attention to the way they drive. Most speeding accidents result from carelessness, and the speed to which the vehicle has been going affects how much damage would result from the impact.

How Effective Are Radar Detectors and Why Should You Use It?

How Effective Are Radar Detectors

Just how effective are radar detectors when it comes to stopping traffic tickets from flying in through your door every time you feel like flooring the pedal? Not a few drivers use this device to get away with their speeding habits which can really pose a danger to society, especially those that are around them.

This is primarily the reason why law enforcement agencies use radar guns to monitor speed to keep everyone safe. However, several individuals and motorists find the imposed limit to restricting and finding ways to go around it without getting caught has been their motivation in determining how effective are radar detectors.

What Are Radar Detectors?

Radar detectors are electronic devices that most motorists and drivers use to monitor and detect if their speed is being monitored by radar guns that are often used by law enforcement agencies. Radar detectors are designed to blend in with the dashboard while still being able to notify the driver to slow down when needed.

Radar guns, on the other hand, are electronic devices that use the principle of the Doppler effect to detect and determine the speed of moving vehicles. This device can be hand-held, placed atop a dashboard or remain static on a lamp post or a speed detecting column. These guns can also be used in determining speed in spectator sport like baseball and racing.

Advantages of Using Radar Detectors

Radar detectors can save time and money that you would usually use to attend court proceedings to get your license back if you're caught anyways. Imagine getting caught, and you'd have to spend money on documentation, as well as a lawyer that may get you off with a lighter sentence. Couple that with all the fees and fines, as well as other related expenses, which do not come cheap.

Summarizing these two advantages of using a radar detector would make you realize what the greatest advantage of using such a device is; no hassle. It frees you from all that stress that you are bound to get if you are not alerted on time that there are some folks monitoring speed levels and such.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

Radar detectors work much like how your AM/FM radio works. It receives radio signals that are scattered all over the air and converts it into to a visible signal that alerts you if a source that runs the same frequency is trying to avoid us nearby. Radar guns use the same frequencies to detect speeding vehicles and radar detectors are attuned to that frequency, with some models being able to compensate for slight variations.

However, radio wave frequencies are limited, and some non-law enforcement institution and devices have taken to using the same frequency which can lead to false alarms and notifications; sometimes leading to accidents or tickets. These said devices that use the same frequency include adaptive radar cruise controls which are found in newer car models, as well as automatic doors found in supermarkets and hotels.

To combat this, some newer radar detector models now come with software that can filter these extraneous sources and provide better and more accurate alerts. However, the police all the other traffic enforcement agencies are keeping up with the game and have begun moving to a newer technology that is harder to detect.

Radar Detector Bands

As previously mentioned, radar detectors are receivers that filter through the different electromagnetic waves that litter the air around us and detect the band to which they belong under. Of course, these devices use software that is attuned to what most law enforcement agencies use, so it can alert you as soon as a signal under that radio wave band is detected broadcasting towards you.

There are different radio wave bands that radar detectors can detect, and this includes:

  • The X BandThe original band which is radar speed guns. This band is usually between 10.5-10.55 GHz, and it is considered to be the easiest band to detect, even from a distance.
  • The K BandThis is the most widely used bands and run between 24.05-24.25 GHz, and the waves sent off through this band is low and has a small wavelength compared to the others on this list.
  • The Ka-BandThis band is a superband of sorts as it is composed of three other radio wave bands; the basic Ka-band, Wide Ka-Band, and the Super Wide Ka-Band. The combination of all three makes it more difficult to detect, and it operates using the frequencies between 33.4-36.0 GHz.
  • The Ku BandThis band is mostly used for European countries and are often used for satellite communications. This operates at 13.45 GHz and is quite easy to detect, unlike the Ka-Band.

How Effective Are Radar Detectors?

Given that law enforcement units now use newer technology like Lidar, this means that radar guns are slowly being phased out and replaced with guns that are equipped with Lidar. LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it functions by illuminating a target with laser light and then measuring the reflection with a sensor.

Given that LIDAR uses a focused beam of infrared or laser light, this means that the most common target is a specific spot on a moving vehicle, primarily license plates. This makes it even harder to detect as radar detectors won't be able to detect it as much, especially with all the interference coming from other sources.

So, are radar detectors still effective?

It's always been a game of cat and mouse when it comes to avoiding tickets and thinking of ways to further avoid it. Lidar and radar guns are used together to apprehend speeding motorists, but detectors are constantly evolving as well with increasing bandwidth detection and even LIDAR detection as well.

Its effectivity is also dependent on the kind of road traffic and terrain that you are driving in. City driving can present problems like false alarms with all the automatic doors while suburban driving presents the danger of having too many speed towers trying to apprehend the usual speeding suspects.

How to Hide Radar Detectors?

How to Hide Radar Detectors

In the US, an average cost for a speeding ticket is $150, and annually, around 41 million speeding tickets are issued. Whether on a personal or political standpoint, that is a lot of money. If you are looking to dodge the fine, then we understand why you’d want to have a radar detector. But are these devices even legal? If not, then how to hide radar detectors and still enjoy them?

If you have heard that radar detectors are prohibited in some areas or have come across an article saying that modern radar guns can detect radar detectors, then this article comes to you at an opportune time to set things straight and to provide you with essential tips on the matter.

Why Do You Have to Hide Radar Detectors in the First Place?

The obvious answer is that radar detectors may be illegal to use on your side of the world or be in possession of someone in the country.

All over the globe, different federal or state laws apply concerning radar detectors. Several countries are clear about their stand regarding these devices. Japan, Iceland, New Zealand, and the UK, for example, allow drivers to use them; whereas, in countries like Finland, Belgium, Italy, and Germany, they are deemed illegal.

However, other countries have a complicated relationship with radar detectors. Australia and the United States, for example, have different state laws to follow on top of the instituted federal laws.

Case in point is the US where the device is legal in all states except for Virginia, Washington, D.C., and military bases. On top of that, while it is legal to use them in other states, you have to make sure you are not using one with a non-commercial vehicle or a vehicle that is more than 18,000 pounds. Interestingly, in Australia, all states except Western Australia prohibit the use of radar detectors.

Other countries are so strict about radar detectors that possessing one is considered a violation of the law. Confiscation or fines may apply depending on federal and state provisions. If you are in Finland, and you have been caught with one in your vehicle—whether you are using it or not, then you will be slapped with a fine in proportion to your income.

How to Hide Radar Detectors?

If you are unfortunately living in or traveling to a place where radar detectors are illegal, and you are not ready to give up on the idea of going without one, then you’ll find the tips or tricks below helpful:

  • Mount it somewhere invisible from the outside.

So, where exactly is that invisible area? Obviously, it is not in the middle of the windshield or on the dashboard where it can be easily spotted even without the help of a radio detector detector.

One less visible spot is right above the rear view mirror. While this still lends the radar detector visible upon close inspection, at least it is not a vulnerable spot. Additionally, you can add a three- to four-inch tint strip on top of your windshield to hide that radar detector.

Adding that tint strip also takes care of other things. One it allows you to put your radar detector in a good position to catch radar signals. However, there are some concerns about the film cutting back the efficiency of a radar detector. A second advantage to using a tint strip is that it helps protect your radar detector from the heat. Thus, you can expect a radar detector behind a tint strip to last longer than one that is directly exposed to heat.

  • Don’t put your car to a sudden halt.

If you want to eliminate suspicions of you using a radar detector, then remember not to slam on the brakes once you get an alert. Doing so will just cause the police officer to suspect that you got your ‘Intel’ from a device while being targeted by a radar gun—most probably the instant-on type—thus, the sudden brake.

Make it a habit to slow down instead of suddenly stepping on the brakes when your radar detector goes off. This will up your chances of getting off a speeding ticket fine than if you would suspiciously put the car to an immediate stop.

  • Invest on a stealthy radar detector.

Another thing you can do is to buy a really good radar detector. While radar detector manufacturers are upping their game, so are those working to upgrade the speed detection tools of police enforcement. That explains why some departments have moved on to the more accurate and stealthy laser guns.

But going back to the radar detection field, it is believed that some radar guns are equipped with radar detector detecting technology. Like radar guns, radar detectors leak out some signals that can be caught by these radar guns. Thus, merely hiding a regular radar detector behind a tint strip can be a futile effort.

What you need is a radar detector that can hide from such RDD-equipped radar guns. Thankfully, there are a few stealthy types. Among them are the Beltronic STI Magnum, the Escort Redline, and the Uniden R3 and R1. But, of course, since they belong to a special class of radar detectors, you’ll have to be ready to raise your budget. That will be around $400 to $500.

Final Thoughts

So those are three of the ways on how to hide radar detectors, from the most practical to the most effective yet expensive. If you are looking to up your radar detection game regardless of the existing laws of the area, then these are the tricks that may work for you. Again, these are not fool-proof ways, and neither are radar detectors 100% effective all the time.

Nevertheless, while it is easy stepping on the gas and finding loopholes in the system as some form of revolt to an income-generating provision, speed checks remain to serve an important purpose, and that is to keep the highways and roads safe for everyone. So, use radar detectors responsibly.

Are Radar Detectors Worth It?

Are Radar Detectors Worth It

Did you know that around 41 million speeding tickets are issued every year in the US? Perhaps per personal experience and assessment, you have proven or foresee yourself as 1 out of 5 drivers that will get a speeding ticket this year. That’s why you’re here, asking yourself, “Are radar detectors worth it?

Before we weigh in on whether a radar detector is worth the investment, here are some not-so-fun facts about speeding tickets:

  • In the US, the average cost of a speeding ticket is pegged at $150. That’s also the average weekly grocery bill for a family of four!
  • In some European countries, fines are based on how much money the driver makes. Take for example Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki who was fined 116,000 euros in Finland and a repeat offender Swiss millionaire who had to pay £180,000 in fines.
  • Speeding ticket fines rake in a whopping $6.2 billion of revenues in the US.
  • Besides fines, a speeding ticket may cost you jail time or required community service depending on national or state laws.

In this light, it seems like the answer to the question is pretty obvious. Whether you live in the US or Europe, making big bucks or not, radar detectors can save you some moolah especially if you’re somewhat—to put it gently—lead-footed. That’s, of course, if they work, which then brings us to our second question.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

When a radar-gun-wielding traffic police officer fires at your direction, a concentrated radio wave in X, K, Ka, or Ku band is set in motion. When it hits your car, some of the electromagnetic energy ripples back to the police’s radar device. This speedy going back and forth of radio signal helps the speed gun to calculate your speed.

Now, if your car is equipped with a radar detector, then it can sense these ripples of energy signals even when you’re not the direct target. It then sends off an alarm that a radar gun is in operation. How well it can detect the radar gun signals depends on the waveband compatibility of your radar detector with the one the police are using.

Say, if you have a radar detector operating in a wide range of frequencies, then it may catch X to Ku band radar guns. But if you have decided to switch off the X band frequency while an X band radar gun is in operation, then you won’t receive a warning of the speed check going on in the area. That’s just the simplistic way of putting it.

It can be more complicated than that. For one, if you’re already a direct target of the radar gun, then your radar detector is of little use. Its warning would come in a bit too late. By the time you’ve decided to slow down, the traffic police would already have a smug look on the face and asking you to pull over.

There are two instances that radar detectors can work for you. One is by catching scatter signals. It means you were driving near a targeted vehicle. In such an instance, you can get sufficient warning. Two is when a radar gun is pulsating a signal continuously. As soon as you enter the fringes of the radar gun’s zone, your radar detector can detect it and warn you that you are entering a speed trap area. However, recent instant-on radar guns now make the second scenario less of an advantage to speeders driving radar-detector equipped vehicles.

What Are the Recent Developments in the Field?

Since the development of X band radar guns in the 1950s, a lot of developments have taken place both in the radar gun and radar detector technology. From X band radar guns and radar detectors, there are now Ka and Ku band speed guns and detection tools.

In fact, some departments have already moved on from using the rather rough radar technology to the more sophisticated laser technology. With the capacity to be more precise and to produce less scatter, laser guns up the game to a whole new dimension. So, if you are entering or living in an area where the police force has already given up their radar speed guns in exchange for the laser ones, then equipping your car with a radar detector—even if it’s high-end—is of little use to you.

It would benefit you then to do more research, especially on what types of speed guns are used in your area, before committing to a speed gun detection tool.

Besides Radar Detectors, How Else Can You Dodge a Speeding Ticket?

Well, the obvious answer is to slow down. But if driving fast is something that you can’t be deterred from, then mobile apps like Waze can certainly help. This free app allows you to share and receive important road information, from traffic and road hazards to speed traps!

So, with the Changing Milieu, are Radar Detectors Worth It?

There’s no easy answer to the question. It depends on some factors, from the reality of the field to personal preferences and needs. To help you through with your decision, here are a few questions for you:

  • How often do you get a speeding ticket and how much does it cost you?
  • Is the detection tool going to pay for itself? If yes, then how soon?
  • What kind of speed guns are police using in areas where you frequently travel?
  • Are radar detectors legal to use in your area?
  • If you’re getting a radar gun, then what type and how much is your budget?

Verdict

So, are radar detectors worth it despite the emergence of new technologies? Yes, a radar detector may come in handy in various circumstances. In areas where law enforcement is still using X, K, Ka, or Ku bands, it affords you a way to avoid a speeding ticket and a hefty fine.

And used in conjunction with a mobile app such as Waze, you can considerably cut your chances of being flagged for overspeeding—that’s if police enforcement is still using radar technology. But if you’re looking to a no-fail solution, then your best bet remains to be being updated on and conscientious about following traffic laws.

What Is X Band on a Radar Detector?

What Is X Band on a Radar Detector

Got another speeding ticket? It’s high time to slow down and perhaps consider getting a radar detector—that’s if you’re not ready to give up the need for speed yet. In this article, we answer what is x band on a radar detector and show you how it may provide you with the solution to your problem.

But first, it’s important to know how that radar gun caught you red-handed in the first place, and see how a radar detector can work for you.

Here Does a Radar Gun and Detector Works?

A traffic police officer who fires a radar gun towards your vehicle is releasing a concentrated radio wave. When it hits your car, it ripples some of the electromagnetic energy back to the radar device which then calculates your speed by taking into consideration the time it took for the radio signal to return.

Now, radar guns use different bands of radio frequencies. Among them are X, K, and Ka bands—in the same way that radio has AM and FM stations. If your car is equipped with a radar detector and can sense these ripples, then it sends off an alarm, alerting you that speed checks are nearby.

Radar guns may be in the X-band (8.0 to 12.0 GHz), K-band (24.050 – 24.250. GHz),) or Ka-band (26.5 – 40 GHz). Each type has its pros and cons. Now, how efficient a radar detector provides alerts depends on what frequency it is tuned in and its ability to accept those signals.

What Is X Band on a Radar Detector?

X-band was the original band used in speed guns. It’s in the 8.0 to 12.0 GHz range, with 10.5 as the most commonly used frequency in the US and 9.4-10.6 in Europe.

Now, your radar detector when tuned in to an X band may detect radar guns operating within four miles. But that’s only applicable if the X band radar gun has been switched on the entire time, providing you sufficient warning before you enter speed trap areas. Still, since a lot of technological advancements have occurred since the introduction of X band radar guns in the 1950s, they are now the easiest to dodge with the help of radar detectors that can catch X band signals.

Here are a few more things you need to know about the X band on a radar detector:

• Bigger size

Compared to radar detectors tuned in to other frequencies, X band radar detectors are high-powered and big. For one, they require a bigger antenna. So, they tend to be bulky.

In principle, the smaller the band frequency of the radar detector the bigger is the size of its hardware.

• Large detection width

Older X band radar guns are known to have the widest detection width of its class. With a beam width of 65 degrees, a police officer can detect the speed of your car even without pointing it directly at your vehicle.

The only time this large detection width can work against law enforcement is when you are driving side by side with another car, or there are more cars in a busy road. In such case, the reading may not provide sufficient evidence for a speeding ticket. It can be argued that the wide beam may have picked up the speed of the nearby vehicle even if it’s evident to the police officer which car was going faster.

• False positives

A common complaint about using the X band is the frequency with which you can get false positives. It appears that automatic doors operate in the same X-band frequency. So, depending on how many establishments equipped with automatic doors you will have passed by, your radar detector tuned in an X band may annoyingly set off that many times.

That’s why some people who have the option to shut off the X band in their radar detectors decide not to use them. Some police departments, however, capitalize on this tendency to shut off the X band amongst radar detector users. The police can catch some overspeeding drivers using radar guns in the X band frequency.

• Stronger rain-fade resistance

Another principle you have to remember with X band radar guns or detectors is that the lower the frequency, the lower is the susceptibility to weather and atmospheric interference, too. While there’s greater weather resistance for the X band than higher frequencies, this means that rain, snow, and ice still have the power to weaken the absorption of microwave radio frequency signals.

There are technologies, however, that have been developed to mitigate the effects of rain fade across frequency ranges.

• More affordable

Since radar detectors in the X band frequency are considered old technology, they are more affordable than their younger counterparts. Added to the K and Ka-band, there’s now the Ku-band that’s used in Europe.

The Pink Elephant in the Room

A question you might have hanging over your head right now is why X band radar gun detectors are still in use when you already have those in the K, Ka, and Ku bands? While it seems like using X band radar detectors is archaic, it has its advantages. And as dictated by some situations, they’re the choice of some departments.

As mentioned earlier, the higher-frequency radar guns come at a heftier price tag. So, if a department aims to have most—if not all—of their personnel equipped with radar guns, then the goal becomes more attainable with the cheaper X band radar guns. Besides the cheaper equipment, using the more familiar old technology also means less need for usage training. This makes radar guns using the X band—or the K band—the more practical solution for some departments.

Thus, you’ll find the X band radar guns more commonly used in rural areas where funds are somewhat limited, and traffic is less dense. Therefore, in such settings, you’ll find switching on the X band on your radar detector to your advantage.

It’s also worth mentioning again that some police departments even in the metropolitan areas are deliberately using the X band radar guns because of the tendency of some users to switch this band off to avoid getting false positives.

Summary

So, what is X band on a radar detector? It’s a relatively old band of radar wave frequency that allows your car to detect the presence of X band radar guns and that may provide you enough warning to slow down before you enter a speed trap area.

But because it’s old technology, it’s a bit rough on the edges. X band equipment is expected to be bulkier and more prone to false positives. Still, if you’re not looking to slowing down, then you’ll find an X band radar detector handy, especially in areas where X-band-radar-gun-trotting traffic police officers are aplenty.

How to Determine The Best Radar Detector For Your Needs And Budget

best radar detector

Each year, nearly 41 million speeding tickets are issued in the United States.

If you have a problem taking your foot off of the gas, then you will have to find a way to stay one step of the police force in your area. One of the best ways to do this is by investing in a quality radar detector.

With all of the different options out there, finding the best radar detector can be extremely challenging. The last thing you want to do is rush through this buying process due to the problems this can cause.

Are you looking for the best radar detectors on the market? Consider the following tips to narrow down the radar detector selection at your disposal.

Finding the Best Radar Detector is Easy When Assessing Cost and Performance

The first thing you need to figure out before shopping for a radar detector is how much you can afford to spend. The prices on radar detectors vary from brand to brand, which is why having this information is important.

As with any type of electronic device, you get what you pay for when it comes to radar detectors. Skimping on the quality of a radar detector to save money will usually backfire in spectacular fashion.

This is why you will need to do a great deal of research before making a selection. Investing in a detector that contains feature like band selection and super long range is worth the money.

Avoid False Alarms

When trying to find the right radar detector, you also need to find out about the technology it has in place to prevent false alarms. Many lower-quality alarms have a big problem with sending out false alarms, which can be very annoying.

These types of false alarms are usually caused by a radar detecting its own sensor. Luckily, there are a number of radar detectors on the market that feature safeguards against false alarms.

Failing to check out all of the features a particular radar detector can lead to you purchasing the wrong one.

You Want a Radar Detector that is Reliable

Anyone who has ever owned a radar detector knows how sensitive this type of equipment can be. Some of the older radar detectors can be set off by something as simple as an automatic grocery store door.

Not only can this sensitivity be annoying, it can lead to you getting stressed out for nothing. Choosing a radar detector that has built-in features to eliminate these problems is a must. Many of the higher-quality radar detectors feature target counters.

These counters let the radar detector and its owner know just how many alerts being issued. With an accurate radar detector, you will be able to easily identify speed traps and avoid getting a ticket. Considering the cost of a speeding ticket, investing in a quality radar detector is more cost-effective.

A Radar Detector is Only As Good As Its Range

Checking out the range that a radar detector has is also crucial before making a purchase.

Comparing the ranges on the different radar detector models you are looking at is crucial. Once you have made these comparisons, you can easily choose the right detector to meet your needs.

Most people who go out in search of a new detector to replace their outdated one are pleasantly surprised at the upgraded ranges on the new model.

Look For Non-Detectability

Most people fail to realize that radar detectors aren't entirely foolproof. These types of devices rely on police cruisers that are using radars or lasers to target the traffic ahead of you.

If there is no traffic ahead of you, it will be difficult for your radar detector to work properly. There are also certain radar manufacturers that sell laser jammers. These jammers make it impossible for radar detectors to work properly.

The Varying Types of Laser Detectors

Did you realize that there are a number of different types of radar detectors on the market?

Corded detectors are among the most popular and least expensive devices on the market. Generally, these detectors will mount on a car's windshield via a suction cup.

Cordless detectors provide you with more flexibility and are just as accurate as their corded counterparts. Using this type of radar detector will allow you to avoid the eyesore that wires can present.

Remote-mount detectors are generally permanently mounted inside of a vehicle. These detectors provide you with a clean installation and are undetectable when installed the right way.

The Power of Laser Detection

Most of the modern radar detectors use laser technology. Most low to mid-level detectors contain only one laser beam. This laser will only be able to detect laser beams in front of you.

If you are looking for a higher degree of protection, getting a radar detector that uses 360-degree laser detection is a must. These units are generally more reliable and far more costly.

Highway and City Modes

For most radar detectors, highway mode is the default level of sensitivity. Many of the modern radar detectors have what is referred to as a city mode.

When using these detectors in city mode, you will be able to reduce its range and sensitivity. This means that you will be able to reduce the number of false alerts you have to deal with.

Looking for More Information About Radar Detectors?

The only way to get the best radar detector on the market is by doing your homework. With a simple Google search, you will be able to find all of the information you need to make this important decision.

If you are looking for informative blogs about the radar detectors on the market, you have come to the right place. Our team works hard to provide our readers with useful information about the latest radar detectors.

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