In spite of the fact that a radar detector is a valuable tool for any driver, the truth is that it could do more harm than good if used improperly. In fact, situations when motorists perceive them as a license to break the law and eventually get tickets only to qualify the devices as being useless once their fines start piling up are fairly common these days. And that’s just one of the most common examples.
However, it is important to note that what is the best radar detectors to capture the frequencies emitted by the radar gun, utensils commonly used by law enforcement officers to determine the speed of vehicles. Following are a few tips on how to properly operate your device as well as some information regarding what you can expect – or cannot expect – from a radar detector.
Situations When a Radar Detector Makes All the Difference in the World
The ideal time to have a radar detector installed in your vehicle is when you are driving on the highway or a city road and you have several cars in front and behind you. The reason why this makes a perfect scenario resides in the fact that your device can effortlessly detect the radar gun when it captures the speed of the automobiles around you. Fortunately, driving in busy traffic is a very common situation that motorists will find themselves in on a daily basis, especially during the rush hours.
Its Performance Greatly Depends on the Installation
Granted, some radar detector manufacturers advise users to install the device as high as possible for a better performance and signal capturing. In fact, if it weren’t for the limited visibility and the dangers resulting from this, chances are they would even recommend placing it in the middle of your windshield. However, it is necessary to mention that “as high as possible” is not such a bright location for a radar detector considering that the police officers will not point their gun at the windshield, but rather at the lower part where they can see the name plates of the vehicle.
In addition, in spite of the fact that radar detectors are permitted in every state except Washington and Virginia, law enforcement officers tend to frown upon drivers utilizing such devices. In short, their instinct tells them that you speed regularly and the current encounter is merely an exception. Given these reasons, an efficient location for your radar detector is as low as you can, preferably on the dashboard.
Change the Radar Detector’s Modes Accordingly
Perhaps the most common complaint regarding radar detectors is the number of false alerts, which on a side note will determine the driver to ignore the visual and/or audio signals emitted by the device sooner or later. However, the truth is that this issue could be easily solved if drivers would remember to select the appropriate modes according to the road. There are just four modes these gadgets come with, namely:
- POP mode – detects bursts of signals from radar guns, although this might also increase the number of false alerts in certain conditions.
- City mode – because there are numerous things in the city that emit similar frequencies as radar guns, this mode considerably reduces the false alerts.
- Auto mode – very useful for when you are making the transition from city to highway or vice versa.
- Highway mode – it enhances your device’s sensitivity as to detect weak and/or quick signals.
- Learn the Device’s Signs and Alerts
Since the icon and LED alerts emitted by your radar detector might be a bit confusing, it is highly advisable to check the gadget’s manual and learn them before heading for a ride. In addition, as most radar detectors also include voice or audio alerts, it is in your best interest to become familiar with them and respond accordingly. On a side note, since most devices work on a system that sends alerts which increase in intensity as you approach the source, make sure to select an audio alert that you can hear even in difficult conditions.
A Final Word
In order to avoid receiving any ticket at all, you should consider playing it safe and driving slower when you are alone on a road, near bridges, underpasses, overpasses, curves and hills. After all, let’s not forget that the radar detector is not your ticket to speeding, but rather a tool you should use responsibly.