What Is a Radar Detector and How Do They Work?
Radar detectors are important tools to many drivers. In fact, they’re so heavily relied on by some drivers that many won’t even drive without one! There’s a common misconception that a radar detector is more of a patrol detector, but this isn’t the case. Radar detectors are designed to pick up radar signals in the area and alert you of them. There’s something important to remember though, all radar detectors are required to pick up interference from other radar signals in the area. This means that the radar detectors may go off when there aren’t any “threats” in the area such as from motion detectors in many doors and security systems in stores.
Radar detectors are all designed to detect radar signals, but some detectors can even pick up laser signals and others can be integrated with your smart phone. All radar detectors will pick up X, K, and KA bands but if you want something more specific or the laws in your state have specific restrictions you will want to keep this in mind while shopping. Keep in mind that radar detectors are illegal for all vehicles in the following areas – The District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), Virginia, most areas in Canada, and United States military bases. Remember to double check your state and county’s laws prior to purchasing a radar detector.
Different areas tend to use different radar signals, so it is best to research your current area to see what type of radar or laser is used most commonly. Many enthusiast forums online are great gateways to this type of information.
You may be curious what makes one radar detector better than another when you’re shopping for some and see a larger price gap. Keep in mind that as with most electronics that you usually “get what you pay for” and some of the more budget detectors may not be up to par to alert you quick enough. If you’re going to be traveling a lot, multi-band detection is a feature you’ll definitely want to consider. Some radar detectors are designed specifically for commonly used bands in North America specifically.
Using your Radar Detector Correctly
Now, you may have a radar detector, but this doesn’t make you immune from encounters. You’ll need to understand how your radar detector works in order to use it. Radar detectors tend to work best on line of sight principles – meaning if there’s an obstruction in the road or an upcoming bend, your detector is just as blind as you are. Learning to work with a radar detector takes a bit of practice, but when you’re used to it, driving without one will make you feel naked. Remember – a radar detector does not JAM anything. If you hear a strong alert, SLOW DOWN!
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