Radar Detector Vocabulary 101 – The Basics
Making the choice to buy a radar detector can be a budget-saving one for a driver with a lead foot, or a smart choice for the driver that has occasional “slip ups.” But going from making the choice to actual installation can be held up by the process of actually choosing the right detector for an automobile.
Just running out and buying any make and model might result in a bad purchase. So, it pays to understand detectors first and what the different technologies are.
Knowing the basic radar detector vocabulary can help ease the difficulty in making a smart choice. Here are some of the basic terms that owners should know:
Display – This is the window that gives a driver information about what types of speed detectors might be in use in the area. In more advanced models that scan for a number of detection devices, such as radar at different frequencies and laser, the display will involve a number of different codes and symbols. Very advanced models can even alert drivers to impending roadwork and even emergency vehicles that might be in the road ahead.
Audio Alert Mode – Some models provide this option that enables a radar detector to only give audio feedback about potential speed scanning. This is beneficial for those with battery-operated, cordless systems, but it doesn’t work well if the mute button has been pushed, so watch out for this!
Muting – Some systems offer auto and manual muting features. Auto muting basically lets the driver make the system mute after giving off a short alert. Manual muting silences an alert instantly when pushed manually.
Dual alert display – This feature found on some models provides an extra attention grabber for the driver.
Multiple threats – This type of display can let a driver know that a multitude of scanning systems might be in use at one time. For example, if different bands are being used, such as X and Ka, the system will make the driver aware of both.
Signal strength – This tells a driver how close he or she is to the potential scanning threat.
The multitude of radar detectors on the market today makes it difficult to cover every option imaginable in a single vocabulary lesson. But, it’s a good idea for those in the market to buy to keep an eye out for solid detectors that scan for multiple frequencies and have displays that are easy to read and understand. The alerting mechanisms, also, should grab a driver’s attention without scaring them out of their skin.