7 Radar Detector Myths Debunked

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7 Radar Detector Myths Debunked

Radar detectors signal when there is any form of radar technology in the area. Drivers use them to make sure they are aware of police in the area so they do not get caught going over the speed limit. The devices use superheterodyne reception to detect the frequencies emitted from radar guns.

Law enforcement officials use radar guns to measure how fast vehicles are going. If a vehicle is traveling faster than the speed limit, the law enforcement official can issue that driver a speeding ticket, which can be quite expensive. Many people drive over the speed limit because they're in a hurry, aren't paying attention, feel that they are going with the "flow of traffic," or they just enjoy driving fast. Regardless, safety is the number one reason that speed limits are enforced, and failing to adhere to them is breaking the law.

When it comes to radar detectors, there are many myths that circulate. This guide discusses the different types of radar guns, seven false radar detector myths, and where to shop for them.


Types of Radar Detectors

Before discussing radar detector myths, it is a good idea to understand the different types on the market. The chart below discusses three types as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Radar Detectors





Corded radar detectors are plugged into a vehicle's cigarette lighter; typically mounted to the windshield with suction cups

Easy to install; can detect all radar signals; least expensive; do not require batteries          

Very visible; the cord takes up space


Cordless radar detectors run off of batteries; usually mounted to the windshield with suction cups

Eliminates dangling cords; takes up less space

Not effective in detecting POP radar signals; shorter range because they run on batteries; more expensive

Remote Mounted

Professionally mounted in several places such as next to the rear view mirror or on the dashboard

Hidden from view; sometimes include signal jammers

Most expensive; need to be professionally installed

Each radar detector can also have various features, such as the ability to go into sleep mode when no radar signals are detected, different tone options, and silent warnings with flashing lights. "Stealth" radar detectors are practically invisible, which some drivers prefer.

The Truth About Seven Common Radar Myths

Radar detectors became popular after 1973 when the Federal government mandated that all highway speed limits be reduced to 55 miles per hour. The mandate lasted for 20 years and created a generation of people who disrespected the limits because they were set unreasonably low. This encouraged people to find ways of avoiding speeding tickets. However, radar guns are highly misunderstood. Many of the beliefs about them are just myths.

Myth 1: Radar Detectors Are Illegal

This is true as well as false. Radar detectors are only illegal in a few states and cities. If caught driving with an illegal device, fines and possible jail time will be issued depending on the severity of the offense. In these areas, radar detector, such as the VG-2 Interceptor, are often used to determine when a radar detector is nearby.

Myth 2: Radar Jammers are the Same as Radar Detectors

This is false. Detectors only signal when radar is in use within its range. A radar jammer actually blocks the signals from a radar gun so that a police officer cannot get a reading on the speed of a car. United States Federal Law prohibits the use of radar jammers. In some states, it is even a felony to use one. Fines can reach up to $50,000 and include a max of five years of jail time.

Myth 3: Radar Detectors Cause Speeding

This is not necessarily true. No device can force people to drive over the speed limit. If used improperly, radar detectors can encourage speeding by giving drivers a false sense of protection. However, they have also been known to decrease speeding. When drivers receive a signal and are aware of law enforcement in the area, they slow down and drive the speed limit. In a city with a lot of law enforcement officers and traffic cops, this would significantly reduce speeds. A study was done during the 1980s in several states in which radar was beamed across the interstate. The result was a large reduction in speeding throughout the area.

Myth 4: People Who Own Radar Detectors Are Dangerous Drivers

This is also false. It is true that the accident rate for owners of radar detectors are higher. However, the statistics also indicate that people who own the detectors drive more on average than those who do not. So the accident rate is not an indication of how safe those drivers are in comparison to other drivers. When the distance driven is taken into consideration, owners without detectors have a higher accident rate per mile driven.

Myth 5: Radar Detectors Do Not Work in Bad Weather Conditions

This is not true. Radar equipment is not affected by the weather. In some studies, the sensitivity of the readings diminished slightly, but not enough to be noticed or cause problems. The main reason tickets are not commonly given during bad weather is simply because law enforcement officers do not want to be outside. If radar did not work in bad weather, airports would have to shut down every time there was rain because they use the same radar technology.

Myth 6: Radar Detectors Save People from Getting Tickets

This is false. Technology advances every day, and radar guns do not necessarily have to be used to catch a speeder. Most patrol cars are now equipped with detectors in the front and rear of the vehicle. Officers can turn them on with a simple switch and find out someone's speed before their driver's detector can notify them of the cop's presence. In addition to this, radar detectors are not always fast enough and often times completely miss a signal. The only way to avoid getting speeding tickets is to travel at or below the speed limit.

Myth 7: Law Enforcement Officers Can't Hide from Radar Detectors

This is false. First, law enforcement officials are allowed to be concealed from view in any way that they wish. This prevents drivers from seeing them, and the officers can wait till the last minute to turn the radar detectors on. Police cars can also use "LiDAR" gun detectors, which use the same principles as radar, but use light from a laser. Second, they can visually gauge how fast cars are going so the radar detector does not have to be on all the time. This means that a speeding driver will have no idea that an officer is up ahead around the corner until it is too late. The radar detector will not detect any equipment that is turned off.

Are Radar Detectors Worth Purchasing?

Drivers should not purchase radar detectors to get away with speeding. They should only be used as reminders to pay attention to speed limits. It is easy for the mind to wander off in deep thought when driving. Some people speed by accident because they are not paying attention. A radar detector can help them remember not to speed.

Shopping for Radar Detectors on eBay

Radar detectors are not commonly found in local stores. The only places that usually have them are automotive accessory stores, which can be few and far between. Finding one may require driving to another city. In addition, radar detectors vary in quality, so people should first read reviews and ratings online before purchasing. Since the research is done online and local stores may not be available, many drivers find it easiest to do their shopping online.
Some popular manufacturers include Cobra and Passport. Prices can vary greatly. For example, the Passport 9500ci radar detector can cost close to $2,000 when purchased new. Websites like eBay have thousands of products to choose from. Buyers can read reviews and bargain shop without leaving their home.


How to Purchase a Radar Detector on eBay

Finding and purchasing radar detectors on eBay is a simple process. Start from the Search box at the top of any eBay page and enter terms such as "radar detectors" or the specific brand of detector you're looking for. You can now narrow down the listings by selecting the type of alert system that you want and whether you want a new, used, or refurbished detector. Before ordering one, there are a few things to consider. First, make sure that radar detectors are not illegal in your state; second, find out if the detector comes with a warranty; and third, note any shipping costs, as they increase the overall price.


If used appropriately and legally, radar detectors can be useful tools for drivers. They can send subtle or loud reminders that people need to slow down as well as encourage safer driving. By dispelling the myths about radar detectors, this guide helps consumers understand what they do and do not get with a radar detector. This allows them to shop with the full knowledge of how they can use the detector and how it can benefit them. With the information provided, buyers can also shop online and save money, instead of driving around town trying find detectors to purchase.

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