Have you ever looked into your rearview mirror and seen the flashing red strobes of a highway patrol car bearing down on you? In that instant, did you think to yourself, how much over the speed limit was I going? Or, was I really so lost in my driving daydreams that I didn't see that speed trap, or maybe worse, didn't know that the cops are always lurking at that same spot on the blind curve and why didn't I reduce my speed?
While it won't guarantee that you won't get caught going too fast, the Escort Passport 9500i radar detector can reduce those scenarios significantly. The key is an onboard GPS chip, which first gives your speed when police radar activates, so there's no more guessing about how much over the speed limit you were traveling. Another benefit: when you encounter radar you can mark that location in the device, so the next time you approach the area you will automatically be warned. For that matter, if you notice speed traps in your area, you can mark them when you drive by the first time. You can also mark alerts that come from non-police signals, such as store burglary alarms or home garage door openers, and the Escort will ignore them in the future.
With one exception, during a weekend road trip to upstate New York, the Escort picked up police radar over half a mile before the speed trap, which was more than enough distance to reduce speed before the trooper targeted me. In several cases, the police car wasn't even visible when the alert went off.
The Escort 9500i is a sleek device that should ideally be placed on your windshield below the rearview mirror, so its rear-facing detector picks up signals from behind. Once you plug in the power cord, the detector turns on and off with the ignition.
The Escort is not cheap—the blue light version is $499.95 and the red light version retails for $449.95—but one speeding ticket may more than offset that price, not only in up-front cost but in increased insurance premiums. The company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.
Of course, we wouldn't encourage anyone to break the legal speed limit, but as a court ruling put it, if the government is watching you, you have the right to know it.