Radar detectors are controversial devices that alert drivers if there are speed monitors being used in the surrounding area. It is controversial due to the fact that most drivers feel that it is a fair device that lets them know when they are about to commit a traffic violation and when to avoid it. Other parties, however, especially law enforcement, believe that this device helps motorists get away with violating traffic rules before they occur.
Despite ongoing debate, radar detectors are available for purchase all over the world. The only information you have to know is where are radar detectors illegal and where are they allowed.
One of the most used devices that law enforcement use to measure the speed of a vehicle is called a Doppler radar. These devices are usually in the form of a gun, and they are commonly called radar guns.
Police officers would be parked in a concealed area and point the device at a passing car to measure its speed. When they detect a speed above the limit, they can then stop the car and issue a traffic violation ticket for overspeeding. These radar devices are also positioned on fixed objects such as traffic signals and highways.
Radar detection devices use a special receiver to detect the electromagnetic emissions from a radar gun and notify the motorist when it is used near him. In recent years, radar detectors have advanced in terms of technology. They now make use of GPS to closely monitor an area for radar monitoring.
Most devices also use different apps so that motorists can inform each other of these monitored areas. The advancement of having an internet connection while driving has also made these devices accessible and available on an online network.
There are several state laws that view the use of radar detectors differently. In terms of federal law, there are no laws that ban the use of radar detectors. An FCC public notice in 1996 states that radar detectors are used to receive radio transmissions, and they do not violate any FCC regulations.
In the Communications Act of 1934, the Department of Transportation stated that in the United States, detectors are generally legal in private vehicles, by they are illegal in commercial vehicles. Still, as mentioned earlier, this can be disregarded by some state laws.
In most areas, radar detectors are allowed as long as all they do is detect radar. The big difference here is when your device actually jams radar. Jamming devices are banned in almost all states and other counties. Nevertheless, this does not mean that your radar detector is legal where you are.
In the United States, radar detectors are illegal in all vehicles in the states of Virginia, Washington DC, and in all United States Military bases. On the other hand, they are illegal in commercial vehicles under the state law in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. This is specific to commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds and all vehicles over 18,000 pounds.
Radar detectors are also illegal in Minnesota and California, but only if the device is affixed to the windshield and obstructing the vision of the driver. Back in the day, radar detectors were illegal in Connecticut, but they were repealed in 1992.
In Canada, the use of radar detectors is only legal in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. This means that it is illegal in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Nunavut, and other parts of the Northwest Territories.
Police officials can confiscate radar detectors regardless of whether they are in use or not, or whether they are operational or not. They can also impose substantial fines.
The following countries have officially made the use of radar detectors illegal:
In these countries, radar detectors are legal, but radar jammers are illegal:
In the past, radar detectors were destroyed when they are confiscated. However, because of the number of lawsuits that were raised by motorists who argued the violation of property rights, law enforcement officers were forced to just remove the devices and write a citation.
What happens next is that the device is then returned after the serial number, make, and model are entered on the ticket. The tickets issued were usually for speeding or for the possession or operation of a radar detector where it is illegal.
Motorists who enter military bases with a radar detector that is mounted on the windshield would be asked to remove the device. If the motorist refuses, he will be denied entry into the military base.
In different parts of the world, the consequence of having a radar detector varies. For instance, in Belgium, the vehicle would be seized, the device would be destroyed, and the driver’s license will be suspended for three months.
In most cases, the radar detector will be confiscated, and the owner will be given a ticket and asked for a fine. To give you an idea, the highest fine for using a radar jammer in the Czech Republic is around $8,500.
It is important to know where are radar detectors illegal and where they can be used. From this read, we have learned that radar detectors are legal to use in most parts of the world. In the United States, in fact, they are mostly legal, with the exception of a few states and a few areas designated by the US military.
In other parts of the world, there are several countries that prohibit the use of radar detectors and the consequences of being caught using one can be quite significant, so it is important to still be aware of these places.
If you are constantly on the road driving, then perhaps at some point, you have asked yourself the question, “Should I get a radar detector?”. It is a completely valid question that most motorists think about. Why is that?
Radar detectors aren’t just a sneaky way of avoiding that expensive traffic ticket. The truth is, not only can this device help you avoid getting a ticket or being pulled over by the police, but it is also a good way to stay within the speed limit and be safe.
Before we can tell you what radar detectors are, you should first understand the need for it. You see, traffic officers and law enforcement officers use radar guns to measure the speed of an upcoming vehicle. So, if you are indeed going over the speed limit, then they have the evidence needed to pull your car over and issue a traffic violation.
A radar detector is a device that alerts drivers know if there is a radar gun nearby that is monitoring their speed or is getting ready to monitor their speed. Hence, having one lets you know when to stay careful if you wish to avoid having a traffic violation ticket.
One of the most important questions you need to answer before even considering buying a radar detector is whether or not they even work. The short answer is, yes.
Roads and streets are still being monitored using radar guns. The same goes for speed traps, which are used by traffic officials and police officers all over the world. Radar detectors are able to detect these devices, and they can be used to alert drivers when they enter specific areas that are being monitored.
There are a lot of different types of radar detectors, but most of them work the same way. They all detect if a radar gun or a speed-monitoring device is being used, and they alert the user or the driver.
Some of these devices have a higher sensitivity and a wider range compared to others. However, most often than not, they cost a lot more than the regular ones. Needless to say, you can still get a decent radar detector for your car for an affordable price. You just have to know the minimum requirements needed so that you can find the one that suits your needs.
There are many features that make a good radar detector. First and foremost, the device should do what it was advertised to do and detect radar guns and speed traps effectively. It should also be able to notify the driver that they are being monitored in a timely manner.
In addition, a good radar detector should also have sufficient range and field of detection (a 360-degree detection is recommended). This is so that the driver can be alerted in time to slow down and get under the speed limit.
Finally, the device also has to be priced right. There are a lot of expensive radar detectors out there that offer pretty much the same things as models that are less than half the price. The key is to find the one that delivers great value for money.
Before you get a radar detector, there are some things to consider. Here are among the most important considerations when buying this device:
Radar detectors scan the area for any radar guns and notify the driver, while the radar jammers disable the police’s radar. The latter is illegal, and it is banned all over the world.
If these factors sound like they apply to you and your daily driving route, then it is recommended that you get a radar detector for your vehicle.
Obviously, this device will benefit motorists who do a lot of driving. However, this is especially useful for drivers who go into areas and roads that they are not familiar with.
Most speeding violations occur when the driver unknowingly passes the speed limit in an area they do not know. Speed traps rely on this ignorance to catch drivers, but if you have a radar detector, then you can avoid these traps even if you are not familiar with the area you are driving in.
Moreover, it also depends on the route and the traffic that you frequent the most. If you travel in an area with relatively open roads and wide areas, then having a radar detector can be useful. You should also be aware of the roads that you drive through and whether or not they are monitored by the local police.
If you encounter a lot of traffic and you don’t get to drive that fast anyway, then it wouldn’t really make much sense to get a radar detector.
When drivers ask themselves, “Should I get a radar detector?”, the answer almost always depends on where you drive, how much you drive, and what kind of device you are looking to get. If the conditions are right, and you are concerned about being caught speeding, then the answer is “yes”.
A good radar detector can scan for radar guns and other speed-monitoring devices ahead of time and alert the driver about them. This allows the driver to slow down in time and avoid getting pulled over. Having a properly working device can save you from wasting a lot of time and spending several hundreds of dollars in traffic tickets.
When it comes to driving, you have to make sure to keep yourself safe at all times. This means not only doing everything to avoid accidents and traffic incidents but also being aware of where you are and what violations you could be committing.
As drivers, we can’t all be vigilant all the time. Sometimes, we make mistakes, and we get caught. However, there are also ways that we can avoid these situations.
When it comes to avoiding a speeding violation, what you can do is invest in a good radar detector. This device tells drivers if there is a radar gun nearby. Let us take a close look at the Ahomate Laser Radar Detector Kit and how it can be of use.
The Ahomate Laser Radar Detector Kit is designed to detect any stable and mobile radio speed monitor from as far as 250 to 2,500 meters away. It has an auto-scan feature combined with auto-processing and digital signal to detect these frequencies.
This laser radar detector also has fast sweep circuitry for extra detection range and advanced warning. It uses this sweep to detect radars in 360 degrees. A laser detection feature also scans the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle.
In addition to that, this device also provides warnings for other types of speed traps including L-Band, X-Band, Ka-Band, and laser-based radar monitors.
With your convenience and safety in mind, this device is also equipped with a voice announcement feature to inform you of any radar monitors that you will be approaching. A digital icon color display with numeric signal strength is also added on the device itself.
The Ahomate Laser Radar Detector Kit comes with a free anti-slip mat. This mat is attached to the surface of the dashboard, and the laser detector is placed on top of it. This will keep it in place regardless of the speed and change of direction of the vehicle.
The device also features a charging cable, which can be connected to a car lighter port for power. It also has a special hand-held button that allows the driver to turn the detector on or off as needed. In this way, it won’t have to be activated until the driver deems it necessary or until he is in an area where he doesn’t know what the speed limit is.
This laser radar detector kit from Ahomate is designed to provide drivers with enough warnings and alerts to avoid being caught unaware by radar guns and speed traps. This particular device has a great range that can detect all kinds of speed traps on multiple frequencies. It features laser detection in the front of the car, the rear of the car, and even the sides.
The kit also comes with visual and voice audio alerts so that the driver of the vehicle is made aware of any upcoming radar traps in a safe and timely manner. The kit also comes with a charging cord, an anti-slip mat, and a hand-held on/off button.
In order to help you decide if the Ahomate Laser Radar Detector Kit is the one you’re looking for, we decided to compare it with a similar product—the Cobra Rad 350 Laser Radar Detector.
Similar to the radar detector kit from Ahomate, this device from Cobra is also able to detect all kinds of speed-monitoring devices such as radar guns and speed traps on every frequency. This radar detector is designed with an anti-falsing circuitry and in-vehicle technology, which filter alerts from sources like collision-avoidance systems.
The Cobra Rad also has a seven-segment color display screen that provides identification icons for alerts. There are also audible signal strength levels with unique tones so that the driver can keep his or her eyes on the road yet still be aware if there is a speed radar nearby.
In some ways, the Cobra Rad is a superior product. It has a wider range, and it has a filter to disregard false alerts. However, the laser radar detector kit from Ahomate has better features overall.
For one, its laser detectors scan on all sides including the front, the back, and the sides of the car. On the other hand, the Cobra Rad only scans the front and the back. The one from Ahomate also features an on/off remote device, which can be easily pressed even while driving. While the Cobra Rad has the same button, they are small buttons found on the body of the device.
Finally, the biggest difference between these two radar detector kits is their price. The Cobra Rad is four times as expensive as the laser radar detector kit from Ahomate. This is significant because both devices essentially provide the same service: radar detection.
The Laser Radar Detector Kit by Ahomate is an affordable solution to keeping you alert and aware of upcoming radar guns and speed traps. What’s great about this is that it has a voice alert system so that you can be alerted of any device without having to take your eyes off of the road.
However, the most impressive feature of this laser radar detector kit is its price. The thing is it is much more affordable than other radar detectors in the market, and it does the same job of keeping you safe from radar guns and traffic tickets.
For a fraction of the price of a thousand-dollar speeding ticket, you can stay alert and aware while still keeping your eyes on the road and focus on your overall driving. It is an inconspicuous device that helps you be more aware of where you drive and how fast you should be driving.
Radar detectors are handy to have in the vehicle especially for those who like driving fast without fear of getting caught by the traffic police. But is it enough to just have a detector? Is the location of the tool important? Is it essential to know where to mount radar detector to optimize its use? These are some of the questions that many users, particularly newbies to the world of radar detectors, ask. Fortunately, learning the basics, especially, the best location to mount the radar detector is no rocket science.
There are some basics one has to keep in mind when looking for the best place in the vehicle to mount the radar detector.
Sometimes, height does matter. And this saying is true for mounting the radar detector.
Generally, the higher the location of the radar detector, the better it can perform. Arguably, the performance of being mounted lower or higher is not at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But mounting it higher does a better job of sensing a radar over other vehicles and hills that could be blocking the signal.
One also has to consider the alignment of the detector as it should be aimed straight ahead and mounted level with the ground.
There are various places or areas in the vehicle where one can mount the radar detector. It can be placed in the rear view mirror, below the windshield, center of the windshield, or in the grill. Each location has its advantages and disadvantages.
Mounting the radar detector in the rear view mirror is the most ideal, experts say as this location provides the best radar detection performance. The location is not easily seen by thieves who could possibly break into one's vehicle. Plus, this puts the detector within the reach of the driver.
There are disadvantages in placing the device high up the rear view mirror. For one, mounting the detector in the rear view mirror takes some time and requires more effort than mounting the device elsewhere. This is especially true if one is one is running a hardwire cable for a clean installation. A hardwire connection is best when mounting on the rearview mirror to avoid having cables all the way down to the windshield. Plus, a rear view mountain also reduces laser detection since it is far from the grill area and the headlights.
Mounting the radar detector under the rearview mirrors has many advantages. For one, this location is ideal for states or places that disallow mounting of electronic devices on windshields. This location also eliminates the need to use suction cups that are difficult to use and often fail over time. Having the device at the lower part of the rear view mirror also makes for a professional and clean-looking installation. One can also use a traditional hardwire cable for connecting the radar detector.
This location, however, may partially block the visibility of the driver, especially for small vehicles. It also requires additional installation, which can add to the cost of the mounting.
Some radar detector makers highly advise installing the device right at the center of the windshield. There is one main advantage in this location as the radar detector becomes very accessible to the user rather than mounting the device lower and closer to the wipers.
There are, however, so many advantages in choosing this location. For one, it blocks the driver's visibility at all times. Plus, one also has to deal with a messy installation. The device is also easily visible to thieves who could break into the vehicle.
The lower windshield area is probably the most obvious location of the detector for many because of its convenience. One can even run a power cable all the way down to the dashboard and the vehicle's lighter without blocking the driver's visibility. This area is also the most ideal to avoid laser detection.
Mounting the detector in the lower windshield has its cons. This location, unfortunately, lessens the range of radar detection and is more visible to thieves. The wipers may also obscure the signals of the radar and lasers. The running cables can block the stereo, and its button display as well.
Those driving vehicles with steeply and angled windshields will have a hard time accessing the buttons of the detector as well as mounting or dismounting the device.
Arguably, the grill area is not a popular choice for mounting the detectors. After all, this location requires customization, which means that one has to require a professional and spend more money on the installation.
However, the grill could be the most ideal part of the vehicle to place the detector. This is particularly true for the expensive vehicles with windshields that block radar signals. Blocking of radar signals is common for windshields with metallic coatings or heated windshields.
There are plenty of advantages in choosing this area as the home of the device. For one, it clears the windshields from any obstruction. The detector also becomes almost invisible to thieves when hidden in the grill area. One also has the option to integrate the detector with a laser jammer to complete the protection against all detections.
Unfortunately, keeping the device in the grill is more expensive than mounting on windshields, which makes it difficult to change the detector that easily as one will have to spend for its removal from the grill. It would also be hard to mount the detector at the grill for a borrowed or rented vehicle.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to have a detector to avoid getting speeding tickets. Knowing where to mount radar detector is also crucial.
One has the option to install the device in the windshield, rearview mirror or even the grill. However, each location has its advantages and disadvantages. Users, then have to weigh which area will work best for their needs and budget.
Driving is a pleasurable and even therapeutic activity when the roads are clear, and the traffic is light. Unfortunately, the absence of traffic can cause one to drive faster than the maximum speed allowed, which results in getting a ticket. Fortunately, there are radar detectors that can alert the drivers that they are likely to be monitored and caught for overspeeding. If you are on the lookout for a radar detector, then you may want to consider the Escort Passport Max II HD Radar Detector.
Escort Passport Max II HD Radar Detector promises to provide drivers the accuracy and range for a worry-free and ticket-free driving experience. This product claims to have the world's best anti-falsing system.
This radar detector boasts of an auto-learn technology, which is a patented anti-falsing technology that uses the power of exact frequency and GPS to learn and store false alerts. This 360° protection means that drivers will not get false alerts but will only be notified of real threats.
The product has the Escort Live, the brand's exclusive application, and real-time protection network. It works by alerting drivers of upcoming warnings reported and received by other Escort users in the area. This network also provides users with access to local speed limit data. The Escort Live and detector tools contain 1000 pre-loaded locations as well. Users can also add their own "hot spots" in the Escort Database.
The radar detector also comes pre-loaded with the speed camera locations and red-light information throughout North America. One can update the information weekly to keep up with the latest changes. The tool has a multi-color graphics display containing the signal strength, vehicle speed, and laser band, so drivers are fully informed when they receive an alert.
It is equipped with Bluetooth, so users will be able to access the Escort Live app. One can also back up the data and update the software by connecting the device to a PC using the USB port.
The clear voice alerts is another feature of this product, which allows for hands-free operation and provides a crystal clear communication to users.
The Escort Passport Max II HD Radar Detector promises to alarm drivers that their speeds are being monitored at all times with its auto-learn feature or the anti-falsing technology.
This radar detector boasts of the Escort Live, a brand's exclusive feature that alerts drivers of warning received by fellow Escort users. This feature also provides access to speed limit data and contains 1000 preloaded locations. One can even input their identified "hot spots" in the database.
The device has a multi-color graphics display with some information. It is equipped with Bluetooth technology and a USB port to connect the radar to a PC. It also boasts of clear voice alerts for hands-free operation.
The product, however, has several flaws. For one, the Escort Live shuts down automatically after a few minutes of inactivity. There are also construction and design problems as the mount does not stay in place. Plus, the case is of low-quality and tends to break easily.
The Escort Passport Max II HD Radar Detector is not without any competition on the market as other products also promise accurate detection of speed radars.
For example, the Radenso Pro M Extreme Range Radar & Laser Detector promises to warn drivers accurately with its multaradar detection. It can detect a variety of radars including, K, Ka, X, and Gatso. It has a GPS-lockout feature to minimize false alerts.
The device has a database where drivers can check for speed camera and red light data. The database comes with free lifetime updates. The device has an amber OLED display and voice alerts with around 260 messages. It comes with an amplifier-equipped antenna that is barely audible and a low-speed auto-muting of GPS. This radar detector also has three modes, namely City, Autocity and Highway. This item boasts of other features as well. It can detect low power k band, and it is ready for a separate TSR filter for traffic sensors.
The package comes with the detector, a power cord, windshield suction cup mount, a mini USB to USB cable and a carrying case.
The Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range Radar Laser Detector GPSis another competitor. Its GPS feature allows a user to mute false memory alerts, mark the location and receive red light camera alerts. Its digital signal processor has extreme radar sensitivity. It comes with free GPS database updates as well. The device has an OLED display, and K and KA false filter. The product comes with a single and double suction cup brackets, cigarette adapter with the mute key, a USB jack, and a carrying case.
The Escort Passport Max II HD Radar Detector has many virtues to offer for drivers who do not want to be issued with speeding tickets. It has the brand's patented auto-learn technology that prevents falsing.
It also has the Escort Live, the app with real-time protection network that allows users to receive alerts from fellow app users. The Max II equipped with Bluetooth technology as well. These three features are the product’s main selling points. But are these virtues enough reason to buy the product?
The product, unfortunately, suffers from some problems. The Escort Live app often shuts down after a few minutes of non-use. The mount and casing are also poorly designed and built.
This radar detector is still worth buying only if the user does not mind having to turn on the app frequently and is willing to take the risk of dealing with either an inefficient or broken mount and case. Otherwise, it would be best to look for a different product.
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.
Let’s look at radar detectors at multiple angles to answer the question:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector features:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.