A radar detector is a great tool, but it could hurt you more than help if you don't know how to use it properly. This post will attempt to explain how you can get the most benefit from your radar detector. It will teach you what you can expect from your radar detector, and what you cannot.
What Radar Detectors Do
Many people buy a radar detector and simply assume that they now have a license to speed. A few tickets later, these same people will discard the detector as "worthless". It is important to know what a radar detector is, and in what situations you can trust it, and when you must be cautious.
A radar detector will alert you when it senses certain frequencies of signals. The frequencies that they look for are frequencies that are commonly used by radar guns (the devices used by police to capture the speed of vehicles). These products do not detect police officers or police cars. They only detect the signals that are emitted by devices that police officers sometimes use.
When To Trust Your Radar Detector
The perfect situation for a radar detector is when you are driving in traffic, with other cars in front of and behind you. Fortunately, this is a very common scenario and is almost always the case when you are driving on an interstate or a highway during daylight hours. In this scenario, a police officer who is looking for speeders would set off your radar detector when his radar gun captured the speed of a driver in front of or behind you. This would usually give you plenty of time to slow down.
When To Be More Cautious
If you are driving in an area where there isn't much traffic, or if you are the only vehicle within sight, you should exercise more caution. In this scenario, a radar detector is not as valuable. A police officer using an instant-on radar gun could get your speed and your radar detector would have little time to warn you. When exceeding the speed limit in lite traffic, you should always keep an eye out for law enforcement officers and slow down around curves or hills. You also shouldn't speed excessively -- when you spot a police officer you will need to get your speed in check quickly.
The Laser Threat
While police radar is by far the biggest threat, laser usage by police is growing rapidly. Laser works differently than police radar, and laser detection is a weak point for radar detectors. Police laser is not used in all areas, so it is important that you find out if laser is used where you commonly drive. If laser is a threat in your area, you should arm yourself with a laser defense product, such as a laser jammer or Laser Veil, in addition to your radar detector.
If you are expecting to plug in your radar detector and automatically be immune to tickets, then you are in for trouble. However, if you take the time to learn what your radar detector is actually doing, and combine that with smart, situational driving, you will be successful at avoiding speeding tickets.