Speed sensing devices have evolved over the years, with newer models using pulsed laser light, commonly known as LIDAR, instead of radio waves. Unfortunately, traditional radar detectors, which detect radio transmissions, cannot detect the infrared light emitted by LIDAR guns. This means that a different type of device called a LIDAR detector is required for true protection. Technically speaking, good radar detectors can detect lasers.
However, this is not enough to save you from a laser ticket. Radar detectors can only issue a laser alert when the LIDAR gun is aimed at you, which may already be too late as your speed has already been measured. To truly protect yourself from laser tickets, you need to invest in a laser blocker or jammer. The ability of a radar detector to receive radio waves from radar guns depends on the frequency it is tuned to or able to accept.
Many modern radar detectors come with a community threat sharing application that allows users to share information with each other. Radar gun manufacturers approach traffic problems in different ways; some simply show the speed of the fastest moving car while others can show the speed of three or four cars simultaneously. Laser detection is more difficult than radar because its three-foot wide beam produces less dispersion than the 100- to 200-foot wide radar beam. To detect lasers, the radar detector must connect to your smartphone and download its associated application, such as Cobra iRadar, Waze or Escort Live.
Additionally, a GPS must be installed. Police officers are more likely to use speed radar guns that work in the Ka band, so it is important to upgrade your radar detector to one that is more high-tech. In most cases, a detector can identify a radar faster than a radar can establish a track, but the difference is fractions of a second. Since the laser is such a thin beam and the radar detector is installed in the windshield and pointing towards the grill somewhere, it may be too far away to detect it.
Radar has difficulty with heavy traffic and can be detected from a very long distance. All radar detectors can detect police radar and LIDAR; some also detect other signals. Rocky Mountain Radar sells detectors with a unique feature called “coding” which acts as a passive jammer and blocks light emitted by laser guns. These devices are legal in most countries since they focus on blocking light and not radio waves from radar guns.