Flashing blue and red lights in your rearview mirror is something very few want to see. However, most of us have had a police officer tell us we were driving too fast. Various factors determine whether you’ll get a warning or a citation, but having a good attitude and smooth talking skills doesn’t hurt.
We think safe driving is essential, and you should always obey the speed limit. However, we share several ways to avoid speed traps while driving. Let’s dive in!
What Exactly Is a Speed Trap?
Law enforcement agencies use speed traps to catch drivers exceeding the posted speed limit. This can be a solo effort by a law enforcement officer and a radar detector or a team effort.
If officers work as a team, a single officer will typically monitor traffic with a radar detection device and radio to officers waiting ahead regarding any violations. This can be a highly effective way for law enforcement to keep drivers from exceeding the speed limit, which increases safety.
Where Are Speed Traps Most Common?
You’ll come across speed traps in many situations. However, the most common places for speed traps are on interstates and highways or in areas where the speed quickly drops when entering and exiting a city. You can also frequently see speed traps near school zones and other places where safe driving practices are imperative for pedestrians.
The most effective speed traps involve an officer parking, so they’re not visible to drivers. They often hide behind bushes, signs, or freeway dividers to minimize their visibility. By the time drivers see the officer, it’s far too late. The officer has likely already detected their speed, and there’s no chance of slowing down.
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5 Ways to Avoid Speed Traps
We have a few suggestions if you want to avoid speed traps. Some may seem more evident, but they can all be effective ways to avoid getting hit with a traffic citation.
#1 Look Out for Any Unmarked Police Cars
Unmarked police cars are standard in these situations. This is because they don’t stick out like a sore thumb, and it’s not apparent to drivers that they are law enforcement. While the Ford Crown Victoria was the preferred law enforcement vehicle for some time, many law enforcement agencies now use various vehicles. You’ll see unmarked police vehicles that are cars, trucks, and even SUVs.
If you see any suspiciously parked vehicles on the side of the road, there’s always a chance that you’re in the middle of a speed trap. If you see them, they and their radar detector have likely already seen you driving down the road.
#2 Use the Waze App
The Waze navigation app is fantastic for commuters and those driving miles on the roads. The app alerts you to road hazards, traffic congestion, and even speed traps. Users can drop pins to warn other users of speed traps or law enforcement activity. The app will alert you if you’re approaching a speed trap.
The Waze App is available for Apple and Android devices. However, we want to remind you of the importance of being distraction-free while driving. Messing with your phone while driving can be hazardous. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can be a potentially life-changing decision.
Pro Tip: Stay safe while driving by making sure to Avoid These Driving Obstacles At All Costs.
#3 Have a Radar Detector in Your Car
Some drivers use radar detection devices in their vehicle that alert when it detects a radar signal in the area. Drivers can reduce their speed and avoid costly tickets. In many cases, if the device helps you avoid a single ticket, it pays for itself. These devices typically mount to the dash and constantly monitor for radar waves.
While these devices may be helpful to drivers with a lead foot, they’re not legal in every state. You’ll want to check the legalities of using them wherever you plan to drive. Officers have radar detector detectors, which can help them spot vehicles using illegal devices. However, an experienced officer will likely have no trouble telling if a driver has stashed or hidden a machine during a traffic stop.
#4 Download a Police Scanner App
Police scanners are nothing new. People have been using them for decades to listen to police communications in the area. Most of the time, the conversations are mundane and uneventful traffic stops. However, there are police scanner apps that can turn a mobile phone into a police scanner. Using one of these apps could alert you to police activity in the area, including a speed trap.
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with law enforcement’s jargon and standard codes. Officers aren’t saying, “We’re setting up the speed trap at exit 57 for vehicles going southbound.” They’ll speak in code to avoid miscommunications between dispatch and the patrolling officers.
#5 Watch Your Speed
The best way to avoid speed traps is not to speed. It’s plain and simple. If you’re not speeding, law enforcement won’t stop you. While drivers try to create a “gray” area, it’s pretty black and white. If you’re going a single mile per hour over the speed limit, you’re exceeding the maximum speed limit.
There are no if, ands, or buts about it; you’re guilty. However, we all know that law enforcement isn’t going to waste their time or resources pulling over every driver going a single mile per hour over the speed limit.
There are many benefits to watching your speed besides avoiding speed traps. You also improve safety and fuel efficiency. The time you’ll save from speeding is often not nearly as much as you’d think. You may arrive a few minutes faster, but you took a risk and wasted fuel doing so.
Stay Safe On the Road
Many drivers often overlook safety, and not just from speeding. Driving while distracted or driving tired is dangerous. You should make safety your number one priority when on the road. Failure to do so could result in you causing or being in an accident, which will likely have you arriving much later. So do your best to stay safe while on the road!
Have you ever fallen into a speed trap? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
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