Radar detector in car

The Dos and Donts of Using a Radar DetectorAfter receiving a speeding ticket, many people consider purchasing a radar detector. The electronic device can be installed in a vehicle and helps motorists determine whether or not their speed is being monitored with a radar gun. Police and law enforcement use radar guns to track a driver's speed and determine whether or not an individual should receive a ticket for speeding. Radar guns can be handheld, mounted on a vehicle, or attached to a traffic signal.

Generally, with a radar detector, the driver can slow down once the detector signals the driver and not risk the chance of receiving a speeding ticket. Radar detectors can only detect Doppler radar-based units and do not detect piezo sensors, VASCAR technology, or ANPR. Radar detectors are illegal in certain areas and can result in a fine or confiscation of device. Currently, radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, Washington DC, and all military bases. For those who want to use them, radar detectors are available online and at most retail locations that sell electronics.

The Do's of Using a Radar Detector

If radar detectors aren't used properly, they can do more harm than good. Here are some things to do when using a radar detector.

1. Do Stay Alert While Driving

It's important to still remain alert at all times when driving a vehicle. The radar detector does not change this simple fact. The device can help drivers become more aware of neighborhood speed traps, but this is no reason to make poor decisions behind the wheel. The driver is as important as the detector when avoiding traffic tickets. It's also important to remember that there are several ways a law enforcement agent can determine the speed of the vehicle other than the radar. Other areas of detection include aircraft enforcement, VASCAR, laser enforcement, speed sensors, red light cameras, and pacing (comparing his speed to driver's speed in a side-by-side comparison).

2. Do Keep the Radar Detector in the Shade

Like most types of technology, radar detectors can also be damaged by hot temperatures. During the summer months, it's possible for the interior of a vehicle to reach over 150 degrees. If these temperatures do not completely destroy a device, they can certainly shorten the lifespan. Remember to park in the shade whenever possible and consider getting a sunshade or possibly tinting the windows to keep the interior of the vehicle cool. The best method to keep the detector cool is to simply remove it from the window and store it in the glove box or underneath a seat when not in use.

3. Do Mount the Radar Detector Correctly

Make sure not to mount the radar detector too high during installation. Generally, manufacturers recommend mounting the detector in the middle of the windshield, but this decreases the chance of the detector receiving correct alerts. Police officers point radar guns at the front license plate or headlamps and mounting a detector too high causes the detector to potentially miss the "splatter" from the radar gun. In addition to this, mounting high will also cause a distraction in the center of the windshield and potentially cause an accident. High mounts are also more prone to being stolen when left in the vehicle. Besides these issues, most police officers do not wish to see a radar detector in your windshield, even if the device is legal. Seeing this may lessen the chance of catching a break when being pulled over. Consider mounting the detector to the dash or lower on the windshield.

4. Do Learn and Understand the Signals and Alerts

When radar detectors issue a weak signal, most drivers simply ignore the low signal. This is one of the biggest errors drivers make. Drivers usually think it's a false alert or a weak signal and shortly after, they will be pulled over and issued a ticket. There are several circumstances that may bring on a temporarily weak signal. If the officer is approaching, he may simply be pointing the gun in another direction. The officer may also be using an instant-on radar gun, which means he can actually clock the speed in less than a minute. Most detectors will display a band and signal strength. The closer the officer, the higher the strength. Types of bands include "X Band, " "K Band, " "KA Band, " and "Laser." KA Band is the most popular, followed by K Band. Laser is growing nationwide while X Band is mainly in New Jersey and Ohio.

5. Do Use the Correct Mode for Proper Results

If the radar detector is in the wrong mode, the device will constantly give off false alerts and annoy the driver. Make sure to either use city mode or highway mode, depending on the situation. City mode will lower the radar detector's sensitivity. Without switching the mode, the detector will go off from other detectors, alarm systems, and even automatic door openers. In highway mode, the sensitivity is increased for maximum range of detection. The audio alerts are restored to catch even the lowest signal and this leads to maximum performance. Some detectors have an automatic mode but it's recommended to manually switch from each to make sure the device is working to its full capabilities.

6. Do Decide Whether to Use POP Mode

Newer radar detectors are equipped to detect the POP mode radar guns from MPH Industries. In order to receive these signals, the POP radar must be activated. The issue with POP mode guns is that only gauge an "estimate" speed, rather than an exact speed. When choosing to open the POP Mode, drivers are opening a door to radars operating in a K and Ka microwave spectrum. This increases the false alerts a great deal so it's advised not to activate the POP Mode unless living in a state contracted with MPH Industries. Currently, the list includes Nevada, New York, and parts of Florida.

7. Do React Immediately

Make sure to apply the brakes as soon as the detector picks up any signal. By applying quickly, it's possible to beat an officer's radar gun, even when using the instant-on device. When applying brakes, be sure to remain aware of road conditions and weather to keep safety first.

The Don'ts of Using a Radar Detector

If radar detectors aren't used properly, they can do more harm than good. Here are some things to avoid doing when using a radar detector.


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