July 1994 Car & Driver
- Select Proper equipment
- Avoid bright red performance cars
- Non-descript mouse-gray "family" cars pass by unnoticed
- Choose sports sedans such as Taurus SHO, Infinity Q45, etc.
- a GOOD Radar Detector
- Recognize the threat early
- Avoid excessive speeding on sparsely traveled highways. There will be
no radar cover for you. This applies to both day and night driving.
- Pay attention to Radar alerts, especially X-band "blips" on a rural
highway. This may turn out to be K-band bouncing of a car in front of
- Learn to recognize "threat" vehicles, such as Mustang LX's, full-size
Chevrolets, Dodge Diplomats, Plymouth Gran Fury's, etc.
- Identifying "threat" vehicles: windshield pillar mounted spotlight,
stabilizer bar underside car ( especially on Chevrolets ), wide perfor-
- Rules apply whenever vehicle approaches from front or rear - slow down
for positive identification!
- Maintain good daytime scan
- Golden Rule #1 restated: Innocuous cars may pass unnoticed.
- Slow down when approaching underpasses - enforcer may be on far side
behind the concrete.
- Be suspicious of vehicles parked on the inside or outside shoulder until
a positive I.D. is made.
- Check On-ramps: give a quick look to the top of the on-ramp.
- Slow down whenever you notice a vehicle behind you matching your speed
for a positive identification. The vehicle matching your speed will not
be getting smaller in your rear-view mirror.
- Maintain a good night scan
- Moving up on an enforcer vehicle: learn to identify taillights. Good
example is the Mustang LX. Immediately look for the folded in spotlight.
- Prime rule for nighttime driving: drive fast enough so that all head-
lights of passed motorists reduce rapidly in size. Any air of headlamps
that maintains the same distance will need to be identified.
- Practice Stealth, deception, and "hiding"
- Find a "hare" who is pleased to demonstrate that his car is better than
yours. Drop back to a safe distance and enjoy the radar shield. Do
maintain your rear scan though.
- Run at times with lights, then at times without, hiding yourself in
front of a group of trucks when you change illumination. The reason for
this is that an enforcer, having "noticed" you from a long distance
back, will be looking for a certain as-yet-unidentified vehicle with
lights ( or without ) as he moves quickly up through traffic. Suddenly,
he is in identifiable range of a vehicle similar in size and shape to
the one he believes may have been violating, only now the illumination
is different from what he saw before, thus rendering him unsure. Following rules #2 and #3, you will have slowed down to quasi-legal speed.
This will confuse the officer, especially if you have removed your radar
detector from the windshield or visor.
- Placement and removal of the radar detector is crucial. The unit should
be directly in front of you so that a following threat vehicle cannot
- If you believe you have been actively "noticed", hide in front of a
large truck, accelerate while under cover, and exit any off-ramp or rest
area. You will have nothing to lose at this juncture.
- Any time an officer moves in on you, remove the detector at once and
place it in the seat next to you.
- If you are in imminent danger of being stopped, execute the following
emergency procedure in sequence: (1) remove detector and jam under seat;
(2) wipe off suction cup or other tell-talke marks with moistened index
fingertip, and (3) Replace the cigarette lighter ! An empty cigarette
lighter is a dead giveaway to the officer that he is dealing with a
chronic offender. He will treat you accordingly.
- Beware of slow moving "clumps"
- Clumps are largish groups of vehicles covering all lanes and maintain a
- Most "loose" clumps will contain one enforcer vehicle at the front (
usually a marked cruiser, and one in the middle or at the tail of the
clump. The vehicle at the rear will usually be unmarked and looking for
lane changing and in-and-out weaving. Knowledge of rule #2 will make him
a dead giveaway.
- Beware of curves, crests, and grassy medians. Instant-on may be placed so that the violator can be "shot" just as he crests the hill, before he has a chance to react. Slow down - its safer.
- Avoid unprofessional and provocative behavior
- The smart motorist does not alienate others
- Slow to a moderate speed when passing other motorists. One of the
benign-looking minivans you just ran off the road may contain an off-
duty officer with a notebook and a phone.
- Avoid provocative license plates and bumper stickers: "How's my driving
? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT" will not give you any breaks when stopped by an
- Maintain a high level of attention at all times
- Raid motoring is a serious business. Stay focused. Distractions are all
incompatible with rules #1-9.
- Behave correctly when stopped
- Chronic fast driving will get you stopped sooner or later. Observance of
rules #1-9 will make this much, much later, but not "never".
- Do not act blase'. A cocky stance of "OK, so you got me" is provocative.
SO is attempting to argue that there must be some terrible mistake - you
know you were under the limit.
- Do not forget to remove your detector and follow the other steps mentioned in rule #5.
- Be courteous, candid and contrite. Trembling while handing over your
license demonstrates that this situation is unusual and terrifying to
you. It shows respect for the law and fear of punishment.
- Answer the question "Do you know how fast you were going ?" with "Truly,
I don't - my mind must've been wandering". "But I must have been going
over the speed limit, or you wouldn't have stopped me." Note that you
were not speeding deliberately - no "late for work" excuses !
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