All motorists are keen to avoid unexpected fines for driving past a speed camera over the legal speed limit. Speeding can also incur penalty points on your driving licence, this could raise the cost of your insurance policy, and make it more difficult to hire a car amongst other issues!
Many speed cameras are positioned at accident black spots to increase road safety or warn of difficult road conditions ahead, but they’re not always easy to spot. A speed camera detector can let you know when a camera is nearby, making you more aware of dangerous junctions and hazards ahead to keep you safe, as well as avoiding those fines or penalty points.
Speed camera detectors are available in many model types, from the cheap and simple to the sophisticated and expensive. They can be fitted to almost all new and used cars, and purchased online or through a motor trade store. To help you choose the right type of speed detector, it is important to understand the different models in use on Britain’s roads.
To detect speeding vehicles, cameras can use radar, laser signals, or GPS. Older speed cameras still use a film which is checked manually, this film can run out leaving a camera to act just as a visual deterrent. Modern models will film digitally, and use ‘Automatic Number Plate Recognition’ (ANPR) to read registration or trade plates, these registration numbers are then sent off to a database for action.
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Speed camera detectors work by picking up the radar signals or laser beams emitted by cameras, they will then provide you with a visual or audible warning when you are near a speed camera. Some detectors can also alert you when you are exceeding the legal speed limit. As an alternative to a detector, it is possible to install a smartphone app that uses a database of camera locations to alert drivers when a camera is near. Many satellite navigation systems also offer a speed camera location service. These options generally rely on the data and database being kept up to date and you may also need to pay a subscription to use this service.
If you are driving in Europe you should check the regulations for each country you plan to visit. In some countries the use of speed camera detectors is illegal, so you will need to leave your detector at home, switch it off and remove it from the dashboard. Regulations covering speed camera detectors also apply to satellite navigation systems with this feature, so use the manual to find out whether your GPS unit offers detection, and how to turn it off.