A false alarm is a signal interference that causes radar detectors to alert drivers to other signal sources other than a police radar. False alarms are a menace for drivers as they interrupt driving and reduce the efficiency and usefulness of radar detectors. Do you experience a lot of false alarms and desire to stop them? Then you’d want to know what causes radar detector false alarms. Keep reading to find out.
False alarms happen when your radar detector picks up a radio frequency from other devices that use the same radar band as the bands preinstalled in the detector. These devices include automatic doors, blind-spot monitoring systems, and speed signs. Police radars are equipped with different radar bands, with the most advanced radar detectors equipped with more than two radar bands.
False alarms are the major setback of owning a radar detector, however, ardent owners are simply upgrading to newer and advanced models, while making simple adjustments to prevent false alarms from their radar detectors. By preventing false alarms, you’re assured of a better driving experience and an efficient radar detector.
But to understand how radar detectors receive false alarms, it is crucial to understand how radar and detectors work.
How Do Radar Detectors Work
Police radars work by beaming a radio wave at incoming vehicles to determine speed at lightning speed of about 186,000 miles per second. The radar sends a signal and spends most of its time in the receive mode, waiting for a return pulse to determine speed.
Once the signal hits an oncoming vehicle, some of those signals return to the radar, which uses the change in frequency of the oncoming vehicle to calculate its speed. This technique or principle is called the Doppler Effect.
The frequencies sent from radio guns are scattered in the air and can be picked up by radio receivers, equipped to find such signals. Radar detectors work by searching for the signals used by police radars and alerting drivers before the radar reads their speed.
Depending on the radar detector installed in your vehicle, you’ll get a series of alerts which includes sound and flashes. However, it should be noted that advanced radars have an Instant-on or RF setting that allows them to detect the speed at close range before your radar detector is alerted to their presence.
However, advanced radar detectors have improved to sense frequencies at lighting speed, in all directions, notwithstanding distance.
Radars also advanced to adopting laser lights in place of radar waves. However, laser detection promptly came into the market to counter this new technology. Although not as efficient as their predecessor, laser detectors evolved to meet the new demands.
Newer devices called radar jammers could transmit scrambled signals back to the police radar to distort the calculations. This quickly made LIDAR devices inefficient. Lasers also needed the police officer to remain stationary for a precise beam, which also made the device difficult to use.
However, laser jammers are illegal in some states in America while Radar jammers are illegal according to federal law. This is because radar usage is nationwide and remains the main method of law enforcement to measure speed.
Advanced Radar detectors are equipped with components that work together to efficiently pick up radar frequencies. These include radar and receive antennas that help to sense and receive data from sent signals. It is important to purchase the most complete and advanced radar detector to achieve the best results.
Things That Cause Radar Detector False Alarms
Experiencing false alarms while driving, then you should know what’s causing it. Being aware of the source of regular false alarms will help you choose the most advanced radar detector in the market.
Stationary False Alerts
Stationary false alerts are the most common type of false alarms radar detectors receive. Devices that cause stationary false alarms are usually mounted or generally in a stationed position.
These devices include road signs, traffic speed sensors, automatic doors, and motion sensors. While some of these devices generate intermediate alarms, devices such as traffic speed sensors will cause high-intensity alarms that may sound for a longer period. This is usually a disturbing and unpleasant experience.
The K band is the most utilized in stationary devices. The K band is very common and still in use by law enforcement, making it impossible for manufacturers to outrightly remove it from their radar detectors.
Stationary false alerts are especially a menace to city dwellers, as they constantly drive around and by devices operating on police radar bands.
Moving False Alarms
Radar detectors only had to worry about stationary false alarms in the past, however, with more advanced cars now on the road, emitting the same frequencies as radars, radar detectors now face a more aggressive form of false alarms. The advanced safety systems in newer cars are capable of misleading radar detectors to receive false alarms.
Unlike stationary false alarms, moving false alarms are tougher to evade. Thereby, it becomes imperative that you find the most advanced and sophisticated radar detector equipped to differentiate between all the frequencies you encounter on the road.
How To Stop False Alerts
Preventing false alarms is necessary as it helps you get the best out of your radar detector. Car owners who experience a high rate of false alarms are at a higher risk of encountering law enforcement while driving above the speed limit.
Because of the consistent false alarms, more people tend to end up ignoring the right alarms. To avoid such misfortune, it becomes imperative that you comprehend the techniques to stopping false alarms. These include:
Advanced radar detectors have two different levels of sensitivity and filtration: highway and city mode. Highway mode detects long-range frequencies while city mode has lower sensitivity for detecting frequencies in close range but is equipped to filter more alarm alarms.
While older radar detectors required drivers to manually toggle between both modes, advanced radar detectors can be programmed to automatically switch between both modes of filtration. For example, you can program a low setting of 30mph and a high setting of 60mph. This determines the filtration level of your radar detector.
In its low setting, your radar detector automatically mutes alarms from X and K bands and doesn’t terrify your ears with the Ka-band since you’re driving under the speed limit.
However, once your speed is above 60mph, the radar automatically switches filtration settings by detecting your speed using an inbuilt GPS. In this setting, it alerts you to all the frequencies on the K and Ka-band, unless programmed otherwise.
Auto-city mode enables you to avoid the notorious false alarms filled in the city, thereby improving your driving experience.
False alarms are a result of the inability of a radar detector to differentiate between two very similar radio waves. However, newer and more advanced radar detectors are equipped with the necessary hardware to analyze signals and determine which one requires immediate attention and which is a false alarm.
Signal analysis is arguably the most important feature for advanced radar detectors. By investing in signal analysis, you’ll be able to avoid the consistent false alarms that reduce your driving experience.
Some areas are more notorious for sending false alarms than others. Areas with more stationary devices that cause false alarms can now be locked out with any advanced Radar Detector with an inbuilt GPS. This saves you from aggressive false alarms you encounter whenever you drive through that axis.
However, it is recommended that you drive according to the speed limit in these areas since your radar detector will be inactive and unable to detect radar detectors in the vicinity.