Rules of Speed
Things to know before you go...
Often people will get a speeding ticket and then decide that it is last ticket they will ever get. So they choose to purchase something they feel will stop the tickets. These devices are often referred to as countermeasures (CM), Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) or (CECM) Citation Electronic Countermeasures. Not long ago these devices only came in a package marked "Radar Detector". Over the years they now can come in packages marked Laser Jammers, Cheetahs or Trapster (Smartphones or personal navigation devices with installed applications) and even a device that includes many of these products together like the 9500ci from Escort.
Usually what will occur next is the buyer will spend an amount of money expecting that their use or installation of this new device will instantly detect police officers and based on the amount of money they have spent will equate with the range that police officers will be detected from. Often afterward they will have complained that they have driven by multiple officers and their CM system never made a sound to indicate a Police Officer nearby.
These new users need to understand that they did not buy a police or LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) locator system. They bought a device that depending on its qualities and specifications and many other factors will detect other devices that LEOs use to locate drivers driving faster than other drivers in a given area. This is, of course, if a LEO is using such a device.
Radar guns are devices that are most commonly used by LEOs to determine the speed of a nearby vehicle. The guns come with the capabilities of using 1 or more of 3 common bands currently in use in the US. These bands are X, K, and Ka. At this time the only real protection against radar guns that use these bands is through the use of a quality Radar Detector (RD). Trapster on a Smartphone may be able assist as well (more on Trapster later).
Just because you purchased your new RD doesn't mean you will hear it all LEOs with radar guns installed in their vehicle. When a LEO decides to use his radar he may decide to have it on continuous on mode (C/O) or maybe he chooses the instant on mode (I/O). C/O can be the easiest to detect over the longest distances and it doesn't require a lot of interaction from the LEO. I/O is sneaky and dangerous to the driver as you may guess because you can, and most often will, get the least amount of notification of the LEOs presence.
Often novices will equate the value of a CECM to how quickly it will find that radar, lidar (laser) or hidden police officer. To the novice it is a simple equation. The more they spend, the better their system will work. Many of these novices will be using these new devices while having no understanding of the information given above. Later, when they don't get an indication from their device in the manner they expected because a LEO happened to have used I/O to determine their speed and pulled them over and maybe even gave then a ticket, it is then that the novice will then return that particular device to their vendor, then they usually call that particular manufacturers equipment "crap" and go and buy another competitors product, usually for more money.
The novice will feel the competitor’s product must be better because it cost more or their friends tell them stories of how they were able to go as fast as they wanted anytime they wanted so long as they had their XYZ with them. On the other hand there truly is a huge amount of "crap" equipment being marketed and sold as quality products. Please get a good education prior to buying anything at all and check with the membership of RadarDetector.net before buying.
I repeat: RDs or CECM devices are not police detectors.
Once you have made your informed purchases you must learn and develop the proper techniques and use of your newly purchased CECM devices. Owning the best radar detector in the world will not keep you from getting speeding tickets if your technique is lacking.
As far as radar detectors goes, most equipment over 10 years old will not protect you. This primer is not designed to recommend one device over another. It serves only as a means of informing you of what types of devices are available and how to best use them to protect your driving privileges.
If you do not have a Bel 980 or better you will get a ticket much sooner than you would have expected. Eventually everyone gets caught once or again no matter what technique or radar detector they use. However, if you just bought a radar detector you need to learn how it works and what it is saying to you before you stake your driving record on it.
You should place the radar detector as high on the windshield as possible. Some users should avoid placing it behind the tinted area as in certain vehicles this tint could contain metal and other materials that will restrict the detectors sensitivity.
Some windshields have antennas built in. Avoid these areas as well as any area that is masked as a means of shielding light for the same reasons. Visor mounts or hard mounts can be a simple and secure solution to your mounting needs. Permanently wire your detectors if you can. This avoids a cable in your viewing area and it allows for a stealth install. Stealth is important as it may keep you on the bottom of the pull me over list.
If your detector has highway/city mode keep it in highway mode. You want it to be as sensitive as possible so you can learn its range in the different bands. You want to know how well it works with radar from each direction (including the sides). You will need to know how to tell if you are approaching an oncoming "bogey", if one is approaching you and are you in the same direction of travel. You will need to learn when it tells you that there is one over the hill, around the corner or behind the overpass. You may find that leaving it in highway mode is not that much of a bother considering the net gains. Newer radar detectors use GPS to keep them from alerting the user to false alert sources such as automatic door openers, building alarms, and other non-police devices that emit radar.
Each radar detector is different in how it notifies you of a bogey. The most important thing to remember about using a radar detector is to learn how it sounds when a radar gun is pointed at your driving neighbor and not you. The way to do that is to keep a rabbit (a car moving in your direction) ahead of you. Read more about rabbits below.
Don't turn off X band unless you are positive that it's not used in your area. Generally few agencies use it outside the areas generally allow their officers to purchase and use their own equipment and the state of Ohio. When you are in those areas take care and slow down. It is suggested that during your learning period that you keep it on.
Learn the profiles of police vehicles from all different sides. Learn and memorize the headlight and taillight arrangements on these vehicles. Recognizing these profiles from a distance will be your best protection with or without radar detection. Be aware of your vision limitations. If you need glasses for distance vision make sure you are wearing them. If you are approaching the age that your vision starts to deteriorate you should get your vision checked. The last thing you want is to miss what you couldn't see because you could have done something about it.
Know the Undercover Cars in the areas you travel in. Look for tint or full dark tint as a hint of s LEO vehicle. When you are approaching a car look for a mass off equipment around the windshield near rear view mirror or rear deck. Look for too many antennas. Often now undercover cars either have no visible antennae or they use antennae that look like little pucks. Also look for spotlights, tax exempt license plates, a grille guard/push bar and radar antennae inside the vehicle.
LEARN LOCAL and STATE LEO OPERATIONS and TACTICS
As you consistently travel through familiar areas you will need to start learning the operations of the local agencies. Just because a road is not heavily patrolled at any given time doesn't mean that is true for all times. Take in to account the time of day, if there are nearby establishments that serve alcohol, if it is a known "cruising" area or if there are speed changes based on time of day. These situations are used often to change the patrolling and enforcement tactics for any given area.
As you become more familiar with the tactical operations of the local areas you travel in, you should also take the time to learn who uses laser and where it is deployed. Learning the radar bands and frequencies are that are used by each particular agency that enforces traffic laws in these areas is a must. Learning radar enforcement by the frequencies may teach you to quickly identify the agencies and their equipment. This information could be handy in deciding on the future purchase of countermeasures and most importantly, your immediate actions in order to avoid a visit by the revenuers.
Rabbits are vehicles in front of you that you use as a tool to maintain your target speed. There are two major different types, lone rabbits and fast rabbits. These vehicles will get instant-on hit before you get there. If you have a good detector and you learn to read what it tells you when that happens, you can use these vehicles as your first line of defense. Let the rabbits take the instant-on hit. If you end up hearing an instant-on on your vehicle, prepare to get pulled over if you are exceeding "What the law will allow".
Fast rabbits are vehicles traveling at or above your target speed. You should follow fast rabbits at no closer than a 1/4 mile. 1/2 mile is better and a greater distance is even better. Good fast rabbits like it that way. They want to see behind you and want a little warning that a bogey is coming from behind. Fast rabbits carrying radar detectors depend on other rabbits to protect them whenever possible.
Be fair. Being a fast rabbit is very stressful. It is like being the point man. The point man is up there for one of two reasons, as a target or they are good at spotting bogeys. If you are good at spotting bogeys trade off every once in a while and share the burden. Sometimes a fast rabbit will slow for no apparent reason. If this seems to be the case after checking out what is near them, they are asking you to take the point and give them a rest.
Lone rabbits are just vehicles far ahead of you that you are catching up to. You use these rabbits as bogey bait while traveling at your target speed. You will go from one lone rabbit to the next until you get to your destination.
Big Rigs are good and bad as lone rabbits. When the bogey hits them with radar it will reflect strongly and give you a good indication of what you will be seeing shortly. They are bad in the respect that they almost always know where the bogeys are so they are rarely speeding and the bogeys know that and they rarely hit them with instant on. This is the only good reason to have a CB radio.
Generally if you have a good detector and there is automobile traffic, you will be informed of the presence of a bogey. There are other good reasons to use Big Rigs as rabbits. They have a very consistent profile and taillight arrangement that are easy to recognize from great distances and they block any chance of your vehicle speed being detected if you are not at acute angle from the bogey and the Big Rig. Larger profiles bounce the radar back better than smaller profiles.
Other types of rabbits include:
Armed Rabbits - Rabbits with Countermeasures
Blind or Deaf Rabbits - Rabbits without Countermeasures
Dead Rabbits - Rabbits that have been pulled over
A CB radio is a great source of information on the highways. They do not tend to be quite as noisy as they once were and are still very useful in finding bogeys. Often you will hear a CB User identify a bogey location miles in advance of your arrival.
Trapster is a real-time user updatable database that indicates Bogies, Speed traps, Speed Cameras, Red Light Cameras and Mobile Cameras. Trapster can be loaded in many GPS devices but its database is only as good as when it was downloaded. Trapster installed on a Smartphone can be used as a two-way device allowing the user to update the locations of bogeys and mobile speed cameras. Law Enforcement in some areas has infiltrated Trapster in attempt to indicate non-existent locations as speed traps and also to vote down areas they use to catch speeders. Be aware.
GPS BASED CAMERA LOCATION DEVICES (CHEETAH, 9500ci/ix)
Some Radar detectors have this feature built in. These devices use GPS to indicate the approach on static cameras that monitor speed and red light running. These devices will also indicate speed traps. The better devices use the Trinity database like Escort's 9500ci/ix. Even better, the stand-alone devices that use the Trinity database like CHEETAH, present more information to the user. They give additional information so these cameras can be easily located and you can also avoid over speed situations. Many devices now ignore locations that are not directly in the path or direction of the driver. However, do not depend on these devices for locating mobile speed cameras. That is not what they are designed for or capable of. For now Trapster will remain your best chance in locating the mobile speed cameras.
Never speed coming up to a hill (without a rabbit). Yes, they like to hide at the tops and bottoms of hills.
Never speed approaching the cover of an overpass (without a rabbit). Bogeys will hide behind, under and on top of overpasses. Think about if you were a cop where would you hide, in the grass, behind a broke down vehicle, on an entrance ramp, behind jersey walls and many other good places that you would pick too.
Never drive fast when you are angry. You are not paying enough attention to speed.
Never endanger anyone with your speed. This includes the officers that have to chase you and the Rescue and Recovery personnel that have to retrieve your body or your vehicle.
Turn down your radio and make sure your mirrors are perfectly adjusted.
Look for brake lights for no reason. There is always a reason: bogeys, speed limit changes, obstructions and illegal aliens.
Watch the drivers around you. If you are traveling much faster than your neighbors you will get noticed. If your neighbors slow down abruptly they probably see something you don't. Approach your neighbors at your target speed but slow and pass them with care and courtesy. They will call in on you using cell phones if you don't.
When you see a sign that says speed determined by aircraft, believe it. It is very difficult to detect a "Bear in the Air". During inclement weather is your only chance to avoid detection. Look for the white lines in the road. The officer in the air is timing you from one line to the next. They use the same technique for land based VASCAR too. The newer Stalker units can do timing between two random points on the road and therefore do not require a painted maker in the road.
Uniden sells a couple of great scanners (BCT8 for about $180 and the BCT15X for about $225) with a BearTracker feature. This feature listens to the input frequency or mobile repeater frequency of the bogeys. When a bogey transmits to another bogey or to bogey base, this scanner will beep loudly like a radar detector. Most scanners are set up to listen to the output frequency of the towers or base stations and this is of little use for bogey hunting. Use this information as an extension of the radar detector to assist in adjusting your speed and reactions.
The BCT8 scanner comes with a cheap antenna. It is good hearing bogeys from about 3 miles away from you. Use this antenna and do not be tempted to upgrade it. To make best use of this scanner the antenna should not be too sensitive. You only want to be notified of bogeys within a few miles of your location, not the whole county. The input frequencies are weaker than the tower frequencies. You can still program or use the tower or base frequencies to listen to in traffic problems or criminal activities. If you have multiple scanners get a good antenna for the non-BearTracker scanner.
These scanners are programmable as well so you can add CB channel 19 to hear the truckers tell on you as you pass. You can also add the county and city frequencies of the places that you frequent, as only the Highway Patrol frequencies are preprogrammed and use the alert tone for bogey hunting.
LASER GUNS, LASER DETECTORS and LASER JAMMERS
LEO’s greatest revenue tool of the day is the LASER (LIDAR) gun. Often you will see LEO motorcycle pointing his hand held unit at you from great distances. You may see the LEO standing outside of the vehicle or the LEO with the parked sideways and the laser gun pointing down the highway. Recently there have been reports of LEOs using the side view mirror as a means to disguise their activities. At this time it is not clear on the effectiveness of this as far as it being contested in court.
In order to be aware the laser use you must have some sort device that can see the laser light and then inform you with enough time to react in order to avoid a ticket. The laser detector on your radar detector is useless for this purpose. It only serves to let you know that if you are going fast enough a bogey is going to come out of nowhere and give you a ticket. There are manufacturers that claim to "protect" or defend" you with this feature. It will not do either unless you are very lucky. Luck may play a part in the actions of the LEO as he does hit your laser detector and you do not get pulled over because you think slowed down enough. It is much more likely that you were not going fast enough for the LEO to use his time on you as it only takes as long as about 1/3 of a second for the laser gun to determine your speed. Studies have found that with warning, the average human can cover and press on the brake pedal only as quickly as 1/2 of a second.
With this in mind it is suggested that you use a Laser Jammer instead. Install it stealth and use it stealth. Most Laser Jammers are passive devices and only send a jamming signal when it detects a laser hit. Some stay on for only 5 seconds, some are adjustable. This delay is to give you time to slow down before it shuts down. Some stay on until you the offending beam is turned off or you shut it down. Do not leave the Jammer on while you are getting hit after you have slowed to the PSL. This is called JAM TO GUN or JTG and more and more often LEOs are becoming aware of jamming devices because of this technique. Instead let the jammer do the job for you and then turn it off and let the LEO get your speed so he his happy you are not jamming or speeding. You should note that some neon signs and LED taillights will false laser jammers, detectors and guns. The glass in some street lamps may cause a false due to the prismatic affect of a sunset or sunrise. You can also be getting what is called laser scatter. Laser scatter is when the LEO is pointing his gun at a vehicle nearby (usually directly in front of you) and the laser will either reflect or continue through the windshields of the vehicles in front of you and your laser detector or jammer will alert. Consider yourself very lucky if you can use this as a means to slow down and avoid a ticket.
Laser Jammers are not illegal own in most places in the US. Check with the Guys of Lidar website for information of the legality of jammers in the areas you plan to travel in. There are other charges you can get for using them in some areas that do not specifically outlaw them. Charges like impeding an officer or obstruction of justice are what you could get but are very uncommon. You will probably be able to fight them in court successfully but who needs more court time.
Radar jammers are illegal to possess and hard to find. It is not suggested that they be used as they are too easy to detect and if you get caught possessing one there could very well be a $10,000+ fine as well as jail time. No matter what you hear do not buy ROCKY MOUNTAIN ANYTHING. There is no such thing as a passive radar jammer.
Remember the most important fact:
YOU WILL GET CAUGHT EVENTUALLY.
When you do, do not discuss your countermeasures for any reason. A LEO does not need to know what equipment should have worked or didn't work. You should figure that part out later when you are in better circumstances. Never show off your countermeasures to any LEO no matter how strong the urge may be. Often the best trained LEO knows very little about the appropriate countermeasures for the situation and we all would like to keep it that way.
Know the criminal laws and mandatory penalties for certain excess speeds. Always stay below those speeds.
No matter how fast you are driving do not run from a LEO. If you run you are in a "HEEPA TROUBLE!"
[This information was written and/or compiled by STiMULi . who is
currently doing time for Speeding to a Elude, Felony Speeding,
Obstruction of Justice, Impeding an officer in the course of his
duties and Contempt of court for failure to pay fines - Just Kidding]
A huge amount of thanks goes to drivers around the world for their input.
Big thanks goes to SNOOPYC4 for his excellent proofreeding skilz. J
© 2010 STIMULI