Monday, November 26, 2012

Radar detector performance tips

Z06 Corvette in Arrest-Me-Red hue is a ticket magnet
Track Day events offer car club members the chance to operate a daily-driven car on a race track at competition speeds. It''s one of the few opportunities many will have to drive the car at its limits without risking a ticket.

The BMW Car Club of America and the Porsche Club of America in particular hold well-attended events. The latter is particularly open-minded, its South Texas Region chapter even allowing me to compete in an Italian-built DeTomaso Pantera in club events at the former Texas World Speedway outside College Station. Hardly anybody whined about getting beaten by a Ford-engined sports car either.

The degree of driving talent displayed on a Track Day ranges from superb to sub-zero, most participants falling somewhere in between. But even the hopeless ones generally recognize the value of professional-grade training, many seeking guidance from their more gifted compatriots.

Not so when it comes to using a radar detector. On this subject, it would seem, everybody's an expert, many Porsche and BMW drivers included. This trait is most notable among those new to high-end detectors, particularly ones who have just laid out big bucks for models like the Escort Passport 9500ci, a remote (built-in) system that includes laser jammers.

Escort Passport 9500ci display
The Escort 9500CI's discreet components are designed to escape notice, both from thieves and curious lawmen. In the cockpit, the owner can opt to have a bi-color LED flush-mounted in a panel, sometimes in the tach/speedo cluster, using this in lieu of the text display.

To the customer I diligently explain the major advantages of using the display's information-delivery capability. It will show a Ka-band signal's digital frequency, for instance, or track up to nine separate threats simultaneously, with information about each. And so on.

"Forget about it, just hide everything," is a common response. Out of sight, out of mind. I later hear from a few, usually complaining about getting nailed again, most often by radar.

This comes as no surprise. Just as buying a Ferrari doesn't automatically elevate one's driving talent to Formula One-caliber, neither does packing a radar detector transform a driver into a ticket-avoiding phenomenon. But some expert guidance on the subject can certainly help.

For this reason we developed model-specific Performance Tips guides for the most popular Escort and BEL radar detectors. Buy an Escort Passport 9500ix, for instance, and it comes with a free copy of Escort 9500ix Performance Tips.

Those who prefer to use their Escort 9500ix in plug-and-play mode won't care. But drivers really serious about avoiding speeding tickets will read it—and use the information to significantly up the level of protection delivered by their detector.

For example, California drivers can set the user preferences so they'll know at a glance if a Ka-band alert is in reaction to a Cobra radar detector in a passing car—or the Stalker radar universally employed by the California Highway Patrol. Big difference.

There's more, but you get the idea. And in the hunter-versus-prey competition between law enforcement and drivers, knowledge like this can pay off handsomely.