A radar detector is a very
important piece of equipment which will allow you to stay one step ahead
of the traffic officer. Firstly, note that radar detectors are not
permitted in Virginia or the District of Columbia. In those two areas,
anyone caught with a radar detector which is accessible to the driver or
the passenger with available power will face a $300 fine in the District
of Columbia, and between $25 and $100 in Virginia. Also bear in mind
that police in those areas will probably confiscate the evidence until
Radar and laser detectors are not legal ANYWHERE in this country for
drivers of commercial vehicles.
A radar detector does not make you invincible either. You are still
subject to the laws of the country, and a patrol officer usually will
not give a warning to someone if they have a radar detector. If used
effectively, however, the detector is the best defense against getting a
Detectors are being upgraded periodically, and are improving quickly.
When shopping for a radar detector, there are several factors that you
should consider. First, get the widest range of detection that you
possibly can, including XK and Ka bands. You need different indicators
for each one of these bands and an individual light or sound for each.
Ensure that the unit has a good visual display and either a mute or
volume button, allowing adjustments according to the ambient sounds in
your vehicle. Ideally, look for a unit that has at least 110 decibels
(dB) sensitivity. Remember that the most expensive unit is not always
the best. Your unit should be mounted on your windshield in a high
position, near the vicinity of your rearview mirror. This gives you the
widest possible detection range. Use it all the time, not just long
journeys. A speed trap can be set up in the city as well as on the
highway, so be prepared for anything.
An advantage to keeping your radar detector on in the city is that the
more traffic there is, the more often the police have to activate their
units. Whenever they activate it, you should be able to know that is the
police are nearby. Officers nowadays are moving more and more to the
Ďinstant oní type of radar detector. Using this, the officer just has to
pull this trigger when youíre in sight and he gets an instant reading of
your speed. The police believe this to be an accurate method, but as you
read on you will discover that it does have its pitfalls.
If you do get caught in an instant on situation, donít suddenly brake.
Instead, just take your foot off the accelerator and slowly decelerate.
If the officer sees that you are screeching to a halt heíll know that
youíve been speeding. Heíll also know that you have a detector and if
youíre in one of the areas of the country where it is illegal, youíll
get a ticket for that too.
The ideal situation is to get a good radar detector, place it high up on
your windshield and use it at all times. The benefits of your radar
detector far outweigh the problems that it can cause.
There are two types of jammers on the market: Passive and Active.
Passive jammers are legal because they do not transmit any radio
frequencies, whereas active jammers do transmit and are therefore
The bottom line on passive jammers is not to waste your time or your
money with one in the first place. It will not be effective enough for
your needs. Get an active jammer, and make sure itís one that you feel
will work as advertised.
Active jammers transmit, they work, and they are illegal. If you are
transmitting a radio beam you must have an FCC license. Police
departments and local townships are licensed, but the officers donít
actually need to be individually licensed. The radar units that the
police use can tell when they are being jammed. Imagine racing down a
highway at 100 mph, and your jammer is showing a steady 40 to the
officer in his unit. He knows that youíre speeding and he knows that
youíre jamming him. When he does pull you over, the speeding ticket
wonít be the only thing you will have to worry about.
Laser detectors are legal because laser is a form of light beam and is
therefore not a radio frequency. Another good investment for your car
would be a laser license plate cover. The police generally aim for your
license plate since that is an excellent reflector for their radar unit.
Usually your license plate is white and it is highly reflective, giving
them a good readout. You can typically buy one of these laser plate
covers for about $30.