Top 5 Tips for Avoiding a Speeding Ticket
Secrets for ticket-free driving
by Radartest staff
There's more than one type of heat you can expect to encounter this year. Lawmen are rolling out high-intensity speed-enforcement programs like never before. Many of these are funded by government grants and the cops know that to get more funding next year, they'll need to write a lot of tickets now.
Don't rely on folklore: if ever there was an unwritten 10-mph tolerance before an officer took enforcement action, it's gone now. In recent years we've seen tickets written for as little as 3 mph over the limit.
How best to protect yourself from overzealous enforcers? Here are our top 5 tips.
Tip 1: Buy the best radar detector you can afford.
While even a $59 K-Mart Special is better than no detector, don't expect quality protection from any model priced much below $300. True, under ideal conditions the cheaper models will sometimes bark a warning far enough in advance. But they'll do so only on perfectly flat, straight roads and only if the officer isn't using his radar's lethal instant-on feature.
So unless you drive exclusively on such a moonscape, invest in a high-end model. It can pay for itself in a single missed encounter.
Tip 2: Learn to use your radar detector.
This means continuously scanning far ahead, looking for the heat. Unless you're on a divided highway with a median barrier, the most common threat will be a rolling cruiser coming from the opposite direction. He'll be using moving radar, triggering it briefly to sample a speed and then shutting it off again. Be alert to these weak, brief K- or Ka-band alerts as you approach the radar.
Tip 3: Never be a front-runner.
Tip 4: Spot the opposition—before they spot you.
Always scan other traffic—oncoming and same-direction—looking for one of the full-size four-door sedans, SUVs or pickups commonly used as traffic-enforcement units.
The Maryland State Police is known for its cleverness in using unconventional vehicles in speed traps.
These include the late-model Ford Crown Victoria, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet PPV police cars. Also popular are the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition SUVs; many state police agencies also use half-ton Ford, Chevy and Dodge pickups. Don't assume they'll be wearing light bars or the usual markings; many states use unmarked vehicles for obvious reasons.
Don't assume that only traditional police vehicles are used for summertime speedtraps. Aside from the special nuisance posed by aircraft used for speed enforcement by highway patrols, many states use non-traditional vehicles to trap the unwary. These include dump trucks, delivery vans, even the lawn tractor deployed by the Maryland State Police (seen at right). Forget about spotting these in time; your only defense is a high-performance radar detector able to sniff them out while they're still far up the road ahead.
An impossible feat for any detector? Hardly. The Escort Redline spotted this type of radar from a world-record 14.17 miles away in one test. The Escort RedlineXR was even better. Admittedly, this test was run in the radar-friendly Arizona desert, but even when hills and curves are present these models routinely deliver 2 to 5 miles of warning range.
Tip 5: Cool it at night.
You already knew all this? Okay, test your knowledge in our exclusive Speedtrap Challenge and find out just how savvy you are about speed traps.
Established in 1999, Radartest is an authorized reseller for Escort, BEL, Whistler and other leading manufacturers.
We've been performance-testing radar detectors since 1990 and continue to be the only retailer in the world that tests every product we sell.
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