The best radar detector to keep you safe while driving

Radar detectors can help boost your safety as well as helping you avoid a speeding ticket

A speed camera sign and 30 mph limit

by Ryan Gilmore |

Nobody wants to be fined for speeding, and even the most attentive driver occasionally slips a mile or two above the limit. However, the law is the law, and if you're caught by a speed camera, you'll no doubt be served with a hefty fine. And while you can appeal your fine it is a long and laborious process you could really do without.

Some modern cars come with cruise control that will make sure you don't wonder over the limit, but for total peace of mind you can pick up a radar detector to make sure you aren't getting any nasty surprises in the post any time soon.

What you need to know about radar detectors:

How does a radar detector work?

Radar detectors will alert you to the position of fixed speed cameras (some can also detect mobile ones, too). Some are GPS-based and will know when a speed camera is nearby, while others use radar to detect the signals coming from police speed detectors.

Are they legal to use in the UK?

You are allowed to use a radar detector under UK law. There were mutterings from the government that they could be banned, but no legislation has been presented so far.

Some police forces consider using a laser jammer to be perverting the course of justice, which comes with a hefty fine and even jail time in severe instances.

If you're planning a trip to mainland Europe or the Republic of Ireland, leave your radar detector at home, they're illegal to use and you will be fined and have the device confiscated.

What features should I look for?

The best radar detectors will also detect lasers (but will not jam them). Aside from that, look at the general quality of the product; suspiciously cheap examples will not be as good as reputable ones.

Look for a clear display so you can read the information clearly without having to take your eyes off the road. Some will sound an alarm, too, which is a useful additional feature.

Because new speed cameras pop up regularly, your radar detector will need to be constantly updated. The very best models will offer automatic updates but may require a paid subscription. Mid-range models will need to be plugged into a computer and updated periodically which is a bit of a pain.

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