This happens a lot when we’re on the road. It’s easy to see why. Things get a bit more tense on the road, and suddenly, it becomes really, REALLY easy to notice that there are lot of people out there that are idiots, or drive too fast, or, worse yet, drive too slow. Sometimes you’re in a hurry, you don’t want to be in this car forever, you’ve got a place you need to be. If you can get there faster, why shouldn’t you? Oh, right, there’s that speed limit thing.
But even if you do decide to break the speed limit, these days it’s getting harder and harder to get away with it. The police have gadgets these days that can tell exactly how fast you were going, and once they have that information, they can bust you with a speeding ticket. But hey, there’s a workaround for that! Just like the arms race between countries trying to outdo each other with better weapons, escalation has also entered into the war between the police and the people with the need for speed. There is technology available that can detect—or even jam—the devices that the police use to detect speeders.
Now comes the big question. Should you use this stuff?
Face It, You Want To Break The Law
As with alcoholism or drug addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem. In this case, the problem is, you understand that it’s against the law to drive your vehicle at higher speeds, however, you want to do it anyway, BUT you don’t want to get ticketed doing it.
This is the basic premise of wanting one of these devices, and if you have any other reasons, like “sticking it to the man,” or “trying to prove a point in anarcho-political fascism by subverting the mechanism of authority through the liberating forces of an interactive, digital manifesto for automotive freedom and expression,” you’re probably just making excuses. Just admit it, you want to drive really fast and not get busted.
This is America, and you have the freedom to make these choices. Provided that you are willing to own up to the consequences of the choices you make, you should be able to make your decisions on your own. If you’re NOT willing to face the possible negative consequence for your action, maybe you shouldn’t make that choice.
The use of a radar detector or laser jammer is a “have your cake and eat it too” device in this respect.
What These Things Actually Do
Radar detectors a pretty self-explanatory. One device that police use in order to track the speed of passing vehicles is a “radar gun,” or other device which sends out a radar “beam,” that hits a vehicle then bounces back to the gun, reporting the speed. Radar detectors can “hear” this beam going out and inform the driver that someone is using the device, therefore, if you’re over the speed limit, now would be a good time to slow down since there’s a police officer in the area looking to catch speeders and issue tickets.
Laser speed detectors on the other hand are a bit different, since they send out a laser that a radar detector can’t see. There are laser detectors on the market, but these aren’t fool proof as the laser has to hit an area the detector can “see” in order to inform a driver that that the device is being used. Lasers are also improving in range and effectiveness, making them even more difficult to detect, so “laser jammers” are a popular alternative. These devices actually emit a bright burst of ultraviolet light, which means that when a laser detector tries to get a measurement, it’s like pointing a camera at the sun; there’s too much light to see anything meaningful.
What It Means To You
If you’re just learning how to drive, and you’re wanting to get a driver’s license, this is probably not something you should be thinking about. Safe driving involves obeying the speed limits, and no one is going to make a good impression on any driving test by having a radar detector or laser jammer visible somewhere in the vehicle. That’s pretty much a 50 foot flaming sign to a test evaluator that you have every intention of breaking traffic laws when you think you can get away with it.
Even for adult drivers with years of experience, deciding to speed can have serious consequences, especially if you mix it with other activities. If you’re in a hurry and you’re going way over the limit AND decide that now is a good time to whip out your phone and shoot a video of you and your friends singing a song, you’re not just breaking the law by driving over the speed limit, you’re endangering yourself, your friends and everyone else on the road by not even paying attention to your surroundings while you do this.
Radar detectors and laser jammers are not illegal in most states of the country, but you do have to ask yourself if you have both the skill and the responsibility to take drive safely at these speeds. Roads are different, road conditions change, and weather and light conditions play a big role in what actually constitutes a safe driving speed where you still have control.
Ultimately, no responsible driving instructor is going to encourage you to ignore traffic laws just because you don’t agree with them. Just be sure that if you make this choice, you’re willing to accept the consequences. If you can’t, then you probably shouldn’t be speeding.
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