How Radar Detectors Work and Why They Will Not Always Save you From a Ticket 

Some people go shopping for a radar detector with the hope that this gadget will be all they need to avoid all the speeding tickets that might come their way. The truth is slightly different. A radar detector will not always save you from getting a ticket. And to better understand why this is so, it is important that you first understand how radar detectors work. 

How Radar Detectors Work

A radar detector simply scans your environment for radio frequencies that police radars emit as they try to identify speeding drivers. In addition to scanning for these signals, the radar detectors create alerts that inform you that police radars are close by. With this information you can adjust your speed to within the recommended limits to avoid running into problems with the law. 

So, the trick is not only identifying these signals from police detectors, but in informing you of the presence of these police gadgets in a timely manner. This way, you can slow down if you were over the speed limit and avoid a ticket. 

For this reason, people who have a tendency to speed use detectors with the expectation that the devices will tell them when a police speed trap is close by so that they can adjust their speed. While the best of these handy devices will consistently deliver on this promise, there are instances where they might fall a little short, as you will find out below, thus making you end up with a speeding ticket. 

When Police Use Lidar Detectors

First of all, police understand that people are increasingly using detectors to avoid getting tickets. Therefore, they are using technologies that are harder to detect using radar detectors. 

For instance, Lidar technology uses a focused infrared beam instead of a broad radio frequency beam. A radar detector is better suited to detecting the latter signals; not narrow infrared beams. 

Consequently, since your detector might not identify the beams that the police Lidar detectors emit, you can drive right into a police speed trap without getting any heads up from your radar detector. It does not matter if you are using the best radar detector 2019 has in store for you, detecting signals from police Lidar detectors is still a hit and miss. 

Use of Radar Jammers Not Always an Option

There are scenarios where you need more than a radar detector to avoid a ticket. In these circumstances, you might also need a radar jammer because your detector can inform you of police radars a little too late. 

In such a scenario, a jammer would come in handy as it can keep the cop from getting a reading until you have slowed down to within the recommended speed limits. But if your state does not allow the use of radar jammers, then you will almost always get a ticket in these circumstances despite having a radar detector.

Too Many False Alerts

The kind of signals detectors are supposed to detect are now more commonplace; and this has brought a lot of confusion. Automatic doors, and the adaptive cruise control on newer cars use the same radio frequencies as police detectors. 

For this reason, there are many false alarms to deal with. Therefore, you might not know when you are getting alerts from your radar detector because of an automatic door you have just driven past of because of a police patrol car that is right behind you. These false alarms might result in you getting a few speeding tickets despite having a radar detector. 


You might be wondering, is it even worth having a radar detector? Actually, having a detector is a brilliant idea. There are many benefits to having a radar detector, but as you have realized, there are a few shortcomings as well. 

For instance, if the police use Lidar detectors, your detector will have a harder time identifying their signals so that you can adjust your speed accordingly. Many false alerts in today’s world might also get in your way of getting reliable alerts, and this might mean running getting a couple of speeding tickets despite owning this device. 

So, generally speaking, a radar detector does have its place in your car; and a good version will save you from several speeding tickets; just not every time. 

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