We frequently get questions from people seeking the best radar detector. For example, recently a man from California called to ask about the best radar detector for use by him and wife. From his Zip code we know that his town has Redflex red light cameras and that the local California Highway Patrol cruisers pack Stalker radar.
Sure there are a few less expensive models, we told him, but without GPS they false-alarm constantly and they don't warn of red light cameras. He could save some bucks but he'd still be at risk—meanwhile the detector would drive him nuts with false alarms. Was it worth it?
As it turned out, both he and his wife had recently been nailed by local red light cameras. The tickets cost $816. Including the insurance surcharges the tab was nearly $2,000.
And he was concerned about the extra couple of hundred bucks for a GPS-enabled radar detector? It's the same story everywhere. There is more radar, laser and photo enforcement today than ever and it's being used to cast a huge net over American drivers. Only the smartest of the bunch will avoid becoming ensnared—and most of them will be packing a high-end detector. It can't be done on the cheap: reliable protection costs money.
When you're up against the latest radar, that $75 detector won't make a peep if you cruise past a photo radar van. And if the trooper is using his radar in instant-on mode, as is typical, don't expect advance warning. When the detector alerts, the game is already over.