Need For Speed? Use Your Satnav

Speed cameras and similar speed-tracking devices are the bane of many motorists. They have been around for quite some time. The first speed camera systems were introduced in the USA in 1987 (in Friendswood, Texas) but the Dutch Gatsometer company had created film cameras to monitor speed as early as 1960. Amid cyclical controversy due to privacy and mass-regulation issues, speed cameras have advanced to the latest automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology, which can track a vehicle’s average speed between two points, as well as its number plate.

Luckily for the average motorist, speed camera avoidance has now become easier thanks to the latest generation of GPS-based, portable satnavs that can be easily installed in any car. Speed camera fixed  locations are recorded on maps and are available even on the most basic satnavs for cars. For example, they are featured on popular entry-level models such as the Tom Tom Start 60 (with a 6 inch, larger than normal screen) or even the cheaper Garmin Nuvi 2445. They are usually displayed with a specific icon and, in most models, they come with audible warnings too. Most navigators feature different types of warning according to the types of installation, such as speed cameras, speed traps and radar devices.

If the type of advanced warning a speed camera alert feature, as found in current satnavs, is not enough for you, there are other technological devices you can use. Passive radar or LIDAR detectors are often used in the USA. They detect police speed radars in use from a good distance away, enough for the driver to slow down in time and avoid being caught speeding. These passive detectors are effective only against Doppler radar devices, and not against more advanced speed detection systems such as ANPR and VASCAR (average speed computer). A LIDAR (or “laser radar”) is an alternative to radar detection and it works by illuminating the target with light. It’s sensitive to infra-red light and can therefore detect the latest models of laser speed guns used by law enforcement agencies. These devices are illegal in most countries, and the same goes for active detection devices, generally jammers designed to interfere with the operations of radar or LIDAR guns.


In our app-rich era we could not forget to check navigation apps too. One of the most popular is the Co-Pilot Live Premium app, available both for Apple and Android phones. If size of screen is not an issue for you, and you have a late generation Smartphone, then Co-Pilot is very good. Screen visibility is first-rate, directions are clear (a bit low on volume, some independent tests report) and yes, it comes equipped with traffic monitoring of the live internet variety, and speed camera warnings. At £ 25 it’s a very attractive alternative to buying a satnav.

Other apps that focus specifically on speed camera detection are Njection ad Trapster. They are designed for mobile phone use and, like others, they rely on users to keep their databases current.

Finally, a word about TMC, Traffic Message Channel. It’s a technology that uses radio channels within normal bandwidths to deliver real time information about road traffic and incidents. This information can be both audio and displayed as video messages on car satnavs. Most brands of satnavs, as well as cars, include TMC in their sat navigation packages.

This post is written by Mark Jenkins and he works at CouponAudit as a writer, where thousands of valid and working online coupons for different stores are available including but not limited to Toms promo code and various other online stores.

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