Radar Detector Vocabulary 101 – Law Enforcement Terms
If you’re in the market for a radar detector, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for before you buy. When it comes to catching speeders, police have a variety of tools at their disposal. If you know what they’re using in your area, knowing the correct terminology can greatly increase your chances of buying a radar detector that will help you avoid an expensive ticket.
Here are some of the more common terms in regard to law enforcement’s tools for speed detection. Knowing them may help you choose the right radar detector for your automobile:
Radar – A radar gun is a tool used by law enforcement that clocks speeds using radio waves. Police use a number of frequencies for this purpose, including X, K and KA, but the most commonly used in recent history is Ka. This basically works by employing the Doppler shift radio waves can create and measuring it to calculate speeds.
Instant on – Many radar guns transmit a constant signal, which is more easily detected by a radar detector. Some guns, however, include features that enable an Instant On or Pulse. These guns are harder to detect, because they don’t transmit a constant signal.
Laser gun – Providing the same outcome as radar, laser speed detection uses light waves rather than radio. This can be a little trickier for a motorist to combat without specialized detection equipment.
POP Mode – Some radar guns offer this feature, which enables law enforcement to measure an auto’s speed in less than a second, avoiding detection by radar detectors. Since POP mode isn’t always accurate, tickets written based on these readings don’t generally stand up in court, but it’s generally worth buying equipment that can even detect the POP reading.
Photo lidar – Using laser technology, these stationary systems track drivers, record a violation, such as running a light, and then ticket the car’s owner through the mail.
Not all radar detectors protect against all the tools in law enforcement’s arsenal. Knowing what local agencies use can increase a driver’s chances for avoiding a ticket. While most agencies still use old fashion radar, there’s no guarantee laser won’t be in use alongside it some jurisdictions or exclusively in others.