Using Your Radar Detector Effectively

Radar detectors and laser shifters are great tools. However, if you don’t know how to use them the right way or set it up to use the features you need, they could do you more harm than good. Here are some useful tips for how to use them and keep them working properly.

Protect Your Detector

Extreme heat can cause damage to your radar detector, sensors, or battery. If you leave your car parked in the sun for long periods of time, especially in the summer, make sure you cover your radar detector to keep it safe from the heat or put it in the glovebox or trunk. Unless it’s hardwired into your vehicle, you can even unplug it and take it with you.

Mounting it out of sight can help with this problem as well. This prevents you from having to have it repaired and can keep it from getting stolen.


Be Alert

Yes, you have a radar detector. No, it doesn’t not give you immunity from police officers running radar. You still must be alert when operating heavy machinery, like cars. It’s okay to be secure in the abilities of your new radar detector. It’s not okay to think that your entire attention shouldn’t be fully engaged in the task of driving.

Be sure you pay attention to your surroundings at all times. You can react more quickly and more appropriately when you know what is going on around you. A radar detector or laser shifter cannot protect you from other careless drivers. It can only protect you from police officers checking speed, and it can’t even do that 100% of the time.

Mount it Properly

So how do you mount this new technology? First, it’s important to understand how it works. Radar is the most common way police can capture your speed. It works using a radio signal. The radio signal that the officer aims at your car will penetrate plastic, glass, cardboard, and much more. However, radar has a probably penetrating metal. That can include tint with a metalized layer.

Lasers use narrow light beams that are affected by anything you put in between the laser gun and your radar detector. With this knowledge, you can decide where to mount your detector that will give it maximum effectiveness.

The manufacturer will recommend the best place for you to mount their detector for it to work its best. It’s typically somewhere in the middle of the windshield. However, a laser detector can’t receive laser alerts here and a radar detector will be too high to read radar here.

If you mount your radar detector closer to the dash, you can reach it better, the cord will reach the outlet better, and it will perform better overall.

Mounting Laws

It is legal in all states to own a radar detector, but in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, if it is mounted on the windshield, you can be ticketed. In all other states, you can mount your radar detector to the windshield for easy use. Some states have different laws regarding laser shifters, so be sure you know your local regulations.

While a windshield mount might be legal, it’s susceptible to sun and it’s in plain sight. Instead, you may want to consider concealed mounting or custom installs to make it look more seamless and improve effectiveness.

Understand the Alerts

Having a radar detector is great, but not if you don’t know what it’s trying to tell you. Don’t ignore the warnings. Learn what they mean. Yes, sometimes you’ll get a false alert, but it’s much better to act as if it’s real than ignore a real one.

Familiarize yourself with all alerts, read your owner’s manual, and do some research on your particular model. When it comes time to use and understand it, you’ll know everything there is to know.

Use the Correct Mode

A lot of radar detectors come with a city and a highway mode. Make sure you switch to the correct mode depending on where you are. They function differently to accommodate slower or faster speeds.

You can reduce the number of false alerts simply by using the correct mode. You will have a much better driving experience if you don’t have to worry about whether your radar detector is working properly or not.

Highway mode increases the sensitivity of your detector so it can detect radar from much farther away. This is necessary when traveling at higher speeds so you can detect the radar faster.

Some detectors have an auto mode that will switch the mode for you based on the speed at which you are traveling, which really takes the work off of your hands and makes it much easier to use.

By making sure you program your radar detector or laser shifter correctly, mount it in the best location, and use the features as they’re intended to be used, you’ll get the most out of your technology and ensure that you enjoy your experience.