Any good quality radar detector is effective against conventional radar. Using it regularly will enable you to distinguish between false alarms and a speed trap.
If the police in your area use Lidar or you are traveling cross-country, consider investing in a Lidar detector to improve your chances. You still must be cautious, though. Even the best models are no defense against the instant-on feature employed by police to foil detector users.
On a highway with light traffic, particularly at night, the speeder is highly vulnerable to Lidar. Laser detectors should always be mounted on the dashboard, never on the rear view mirror or the windshield, where the height differential from the Lidar signal is greatest. Leading radar and Lidar detector manufacturers include Passport/Escort, Uniden, BEL, Valentine, Whistler, and Cobra.
In order for Lidar to work properly, it must be aimed either at the front or the back of the target car. Some experts suggest reducing the effective range of the Lidar unit by lowering the reflectivity of your vehicle.
It is easy to get carried away with this, taping over taillights and doing other unsafe things, but keep in mind that police usually aim at your front license plate. If your state does not require a front plate, take it off. (Tests show aftermarket license plate covers marketed as “radar absorbers” are of no value.)
There are, however, other targets on the front of the car, particularly the grill and headlights that will return a signal. The more aerodynamic the car, the fewer the angles that will reflect back, (exactly the excuse you need to go out and buy that Lamborghini Murcielago!).
While active transmissions of jamming signals are illegal in this country, passive jamming is legal in most states and effective against regular radar. (States that ban passive jammers include California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.) Jammers are the size of a radar detector and mount the same way.
Standard radar jammers work by adding some FM “noise” to the radar signal and sending it back to the radar gun, which then cannot recognize the signal. The radar unit’s readout will sit there waiting for feedback and not record any speed. Use jammers with caution, though; they only provide five to 10 seconds of protection.
For this reason, always use a jammer in concert with a detector; a passive laser jammer should give you plenty of lead-time to reduce your speed after your detector goes off. Laser jammers also are available, although most models are too weak to be effective.
One exception is the Lidatek Laser Echo, which uses a powerful anti-Lidar laser. All Lidar jammers must be mounted at the front license plate to work well. Jammers are not cheap ($250 and up for good ones), but worth it if you want extra peace of mind.
Keep a sharp eye out
Police hide along highways on median strips, behind billboards, atop on-ramps, in rest areas, around curves, and on the other side of hills. They also operate in tag teams. After passing one squad car, you may accelerate just in time to see another one waiting up ahead.
Brake lights coming on in fast-moving traffic and helpful headlight blinking from oncoming traffic are the best clues of Smokey nearby. You can also check for speed trap information by location at the Website www.speedtrap.org. Unfortunately, the information it contains is volunteered by your fellow motorists and may be spotty or out of date.
As for Bears in the air, signs that read “SPEED CHECKED BY AIRCRAFT SURVEILLANCE” are 95 percent baloney. Police departments have almost totally abandoned air surveillance because it costs far more to operate an airplane plus several ground units to chase down violators. Keep your eyes on the road-where the police are.