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Home > News > Speed Traps: How do speed traps work?
Speed Traps: How do speed traps work?
   
Apr 24, 2008 - NIWOT, CO -

What is a speed trap?

A speed trap is a situation where one or more law enforcement officers measure the speed of moving vehicles within a specific area for the purpose of enforcing speed limits within that area. A speed trap is typically stationary, with officers using radar and/or laser to measure the speed of passing vehicles. One important exception is speed traps utilizing speed measurement from the air using a helicopter or airplane.

How do speed traps work?

Speed traps work by using the elements of stealth and surprise to detect speeding drivers and then give them warnings or citations (speeding tickets). While reading vehicle speeds, the officer(s) involved in a speed trap will try to remain hidden from view, or measure vehicle speed from a location where they are not likely to be noticed. For instance, speed traps are often set up around blind corners; perhaps where a road makes a turn or goes under an underpass. An officer might wait around the blind curve with radar or laser gun in hand and read the speed of vehicles as they come around the corner. By the time a driver notices the police officer, it is usually far too late to slow down. Another example is speed traps that are set up on highway overpasses or off-ramps. Most drivers focus straight ahead and down the road while driving, and may not notice a police officer pointing a police laser gun toward their car or truck. A flashing light in the rear view mirror may be the first indication a driver gets that they passed through a speed trap.

Radar speed traps are often manned by multiple police officers in two or more police vehicles. One or two officers might man a radar/laser location and then radio ahead to another car waiting to pull over speeding vehicles. The officers measuring speeds will provide a description of the speeding vehicle to the officer in the car up ahead, along with the speed as measured by their radar or laser gun. The Stalker Radar Gun is used in speed traps all around the world.

Another type of stationary speed trap is the photo radar camera, also known as a speed camera. These are devices that are mounted next to the road or placed inside a van or other vehicle parked beside the road. They include a police radar gun to read the speed of passing vehicles and photograph the license plate and driver of speeding vehicles as they pass. The license plate number of speeding vehicles is used to locate the owner of the vehicle, and then a speeding ticket is mailed to that person.

How can I avoid speed traps?

You can’t avoid most speed traps; with the exception of permanently mounted speed cameras, speed traps are almost always mobile with their locations at any time unknown to the general public. Your only option is to detect speed traps and check your speed before you pass through them.

All speed traps involve the use of police radar or laser, with the exception of the relatively few speed traps utilizing helicopters or airplanes. So, if you are alerted to the radar or laser from a speed trap, you can check your speed to ensure that you aren’t going too fast before you enter the speed trap.

Police radar is pretty easy to detect; the police radar radio signal is ‘noisy’ and can bounce off of the road, structures, other vehicles, etc. On the other hand, police laser is a very narrow beam of light and only needs to hit a vehicle for .02 seconds (2 hundredths of a second) to measure the vehicle’s speed. The narrow beam of light quickly disperses and does not bounce around noisily like police radar. Therefore, detecting police laser doesn’t work soon enough to allow you to check your speed. As soon as police laser is detected, your vehicle has already been targeted and your speed has been measured. If you were going too fast when police laser was detected, you might was well prepare to be pulled over to receive your speeding ticket. Your only option for protection against police laser is a laser jammer, which both jams the laser gun’s speed reading AND alerts you to the laser, allowing time to check your speed before turning the laser jammer off.

A good radar detector is the best protection against police radar speed traps. The best radar detectors detect radar up to 11 or more miles away. The best radar detectors also have very few false alerts; unlike cheap radar detectors, which are often practically useless due to the many false alarms they can give. A good laser jammer is required if you are driving in an area where police laser speed traps are used. Most radar detectors include a “laser detector,” but if you don’t jam the laser, detecting it isn’t going to do you any good. If you are driving where both police radar and laser are used, the best solution is a system combining both radar detection and laser jamming in one system.

I hope this article has helped to inform you about speed traps. Please browse our site for more information and to buy radar detectors, laser jammers and radar/laser combo systems to protect yourself from speed traps.

Related phrases: How to find and avoid speed traps in texas. Find speed traps in california before they find you! Police radar speed traps can be detected with a good radar detector.

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