The use of LIDAR (laser) guns by police to detect vehicles speed is growing rapidly throughout the United States, as well as the world. With this growing threat, it is very important that drivers realize that a radar detector alone should not be trusted to protect them from laser. In this post, I want to explain in basic terms how police laser works and why it is difficult to successfully detect. I will also point out several products that are effective at slowing down or stopping this threat.
How Police LIDAR Guns Work
Before you can defend yourself against LIDAR, it helps to have a basic understanding of how it works. Police laser guns release a narrow beam of light at a targeted vehicle. Portions of this light are reflected off the vehicle and back to the laser gun. From this reflected light, the laser gun can calculate the speed of the vehicle.
In order for the laser gun to calculate a vehicles speed, the light has to be reflected back to the gun. Because of this, police are trained to target the more reflective areas of the vehicle. Typically this is the front license plate, headlights, or perhaps a shiny front grill.
Why Is Laser A Problem For Radar Detectors?
With regular old police radar guns, the actual radar signal is very wide and it bounces off just about any obstacle in its path. This makes radar comparatively easy to detect because, even with instant-on radar, your detector will typically "catch a bounce" when the officer targets another vehicle around you.
At 1000 feet the laser beam is only 2 feet wide and, unlike radar, it doesn't "bounce". This narrow beam has to actually hit your radar detector before it will produce an alert. In most cases, the police officer will be targeting your car before your detector alerts you and, since the laser gun can calculate your speed in less than a second, you will not have time to respond before getting a ticket.
Luckily, there are several choices, both active and passive, available for those looking for a solution to police laser.
The best defense against police laser is a laser jammer. Laser jammers are an active defense against laser, actually interfering with the light from the laser gun. A laser jammer will block the light from the laser gun, preventing the gun from calculating a speed.
According to recent tests, the best laser jammers currently available are made by Blinder. The Blinder M20 provides 2 transceivers, which will provide coverage for the front of a vehicle or both the front and rear of a motorcycle. The Blinder M40 includes 4 transceivers, enough to cover both the front and rear of a typical vehicle.
If the laser gun can't find a reflective surface, it can't provide the vehicle's speed. It's as simple as that. Passive laser defense products work to make your vehicle less reflective. If the police officer needs to hit your vehicle for several seconds before he can get your speed, that is time for you to respond to your radar detector's "LASER" alert and slow down.
Laser Veil is the best passive solution available, and is far less expensive than a laser jammer. Laser Veil is a translucent paint-like substance that you apply to the reflective areas of your car, such as the headlights, fog lights and license plate. It makes these areas much less reflective, which could significantly reduce the range of a laser gun.
Laser Veil has been tested and was found to be quite effective. It can even be used in combination with a laser jammer to reduce laser punch-through, making your jammer even more effective.
The Laser Shield is a non-reflective license plate cover. Since police are trained to first aim the laser gun at a license plate, using a Laser Shield could buy you a couple of seconds if you have a good radar detector. However, you have to keep in mind that it only covers the license plate, so the police officer will usually pan right to the headlight if he isn't getting a speed from the license plate.
We have found that the best passive solution involves a combination of Veil and a Laser Shield. The manufacturers of Veil recommend against applying Veil directly to a license plate, so the Laser Shield is a perfect compliment. Apply Veil to the headlights and fog lights of your vehicle, then to a Laser shield. Place the Laser Shield over your license plate, and you're in business.