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Answering Your Radar Detector Questions

Posted on 16 November 2008 by admin

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If you have ever been pulled over for traveling above the speed limit then you know how important a radar detector can be. These tiny devices can greatly reduce your chance of getting pulled over for speeding but do you know how they work? It is one of the technological advances that we seem to take for granted.

Most of us have no clue beyond plugging them into the cigarette lighter and mounting them on the dashboard. But are they legal? How do they work? Those are just a few of the questions that you should have when it comes to radar detectors. This is your lucky day.

This article will cover the basics of radar detectors and hopefully by the end you will have some idea of why a radar detector can mean the difference between a speeding ticket and getting to keep your money and your insurance rates low.

What is a radar detector?

A radar detector is a device that measures the radio waves bounced off your vehicle. Police officers use a radar gun that gives off radio waves. When the waves hit your vehicle they are returned to the gun to determine how fast you are going. The radar detector measures these waves and alerts you to the presence of someone using a radar gun to detect your speed.

What is a radar jammer?

A radar jammer is a device that will scramble the radar waves and the LIDAR that are aimed at the vehicle. It is important to know that radar jamming is illegal in the United States and if you get caught with a radar jammer you are facing a fine and possible felony conviction for using one. It is definitely not worth the risk to own one.

What are some brands of radar detectors?

There are several different brands of radar detectors on the market currently. You can choose from a Beltronics BEL RX54 radar detector or you can go with the Whistler XTR-690 Radar/Laser Detector. The choice is up to you and it may come down to what guarantees the company offers along with the price.

Is there a guarantee that I won’t get a speeding ticket if I use a radar detector from a certain company?

There are companies that will guarantee that if you purchase their radar detector and still receive a ticket within a year, they will pay for the cost of the ticket. This guarantee is not offered by every company so you will need to check the fine print before you purchase one if this is something that you are looking for in a radar detection company. The company may also have some fine print about paying for the ticket so read, read, read the instructions and guarantee before purchasing.


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Radar Detectors: Help for First Time Buyers

Posted on 15 July 2008 by admin

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Christine Peppler asked:

Observing posted speed limits is obviously the most reliable method of avoiding costly speeding tickets. However, as most of us know, whether it is a lapse in attention, failure to see all posted signs, an instance of impatience, or a fear of being late, we all exceed the limit on occasion. For just these reasons, millions of drivers opt to invest in radar detectors to avoid the fines. Although radar detectors are banned in some countries and provinces, they are legal for passenger cars in all states in the US with the exception of Virginia and Washington DC.

There is a wide selection of radar detectors on the market and quite a bit of terminology to confuse first time buyers. However, the list of critical features that make a radar detector effective is rather short and once understood should make the purchasing decision a simple one.

The first choice a buyer will make is whether to purchase a corded, cordless, or remote unit radar detector. Corded radar detectors are the most common and can plug into a cigarette lighter or fuse box and are attached to the windshield. Buyers often choose corded radar detectors because they can be installed by the owner in seconds and don’t require batteries. The other primary reason for choosing these particular devices is that they are capable of detecting all bands of radar signals.

Cordless radar detectors on the other hand are sometimes selected as they offer freedom from cords. Unfortunately, these devices are generally less effective however as they do not pick up all bands and have a more restricted range than corded models. Remote units are permanently mounted elsewhere on the car and are often selected as they cannot be seen by thieves or law enforcement. Remote devices are generally higher priced and require professional installation.

Since the purpose of a radar detector is to provide warning that drivers in the area are being monitored, it is important that the device pick up the bands being used and that the warning provided is sufficient. Buyers need to compare radar detectors as far as the distance at which they will sense a radar signal. Obviously, devices that sense a signal from a longer distance provide more warning and thus greater protection. To be functional, a radar detector should be able to pick up X, K, and Ka bands to assure that they will pick up the signals being used for monitoring purposes.

Another critical feature on a radar detector is how effective the alert is when a signal is picked up. The display should be easy to read, in daylight or at nighttime. Radar detectors often use LED but others use LCD displays. New buyers should determine which type of display best meets their personal needs. For instance, some prefer a text display but others feel the LCD display is difficult to see in the sunlight.

Some displays do a better job of indicating how strong a signal is so that the driver knows whether or not the threat of being detected is imminent. Obviously, having both a visual and auditory alert is important as a visual only alert could be missed.

Some radar detectors offer digital voice alerts versus an alarm only alert. Experienced radar detector owners would also recommend volume control and a mute button! Some devices will even offer an automated mute that is activated when driving in slower traffic when both speeding violations and monitoring are less likely.

Many radar detectors also offer features that allow the sensitivity to be adjusted to help reduce alerting the driver when radar signals are picked up from other sources: i.e. a “city mode” decreases sensitivity in urban areas where signals are picked up from security and other systems within buildings and equipment. The ability to filter out unrelated signals helps to reduce false warnings.

Some consumers also prefer to have a feature to shield them from having their device detected. Some devices shut down after alerting the driver and others use signals to shield them without shutting down.

Obviously, one of the newer methods of monitoring drivers are cameras at intersections with traffic lights. Beginning in 2007, some radar detectors will be offered which are capable of alerting drivers to these monitoring cameras and might be a valuable feature for some buyers.

A final, but very important feature that buyers will need to consider is whether or not the device they are considering offers laser detection. Certainly the use of laser guns by law enforcement has continued to increase and buyers have incomplete protection if their device monitors only radar signals. Laser is particularly useful to monitor drivers that are closer than what can be accurately measured by radar. This in turn means that drivers who are monitored by laser signals have even less time to react. Good laser protection requires placement of a head or sensor on the front of the car, usually in the grill, and additional sensors to provide 360 degree sensing to assure all signals can be picked up.

As with most electronics, there are radar detectors with all the bells and whistles, all of the features to assure maximum protection, and they may be well worth the investment for those drivers who hope to avoid expensive speeding tickets. For others however there are also very basic devices which provide a crucial warning but are easily affordable within almost any budget.


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