Technology for Driving: Radar Detectors // Landrew Kentmore
I learned something new last weekend: if you drive really fast and then start to tap the breaks and the gas to make your car jump like it's got hydraulics, that's dangerous enough to get pulled over by a police officer.
And he won't even care if you tell him you were listening to a sweet hip-hop song when you were doing it. This is because police officers have to listen to crackly voices on the radio, so they don't understand what it's like to drive with music playing. Luckily, to avoid getting tickets, there is a piece of technology that tells you when police cars are around: the radar detector.
Radar detectors are devices that sit in your windshield and beep if there's a cop around, sort of like those metal detector things that old guys use at the beach to find treasure or old beer cans. One difference is that, with metal detectors, when they start beeping, you want to speed up and find what's buried in the sand. With radar detectors, you want to slow down to keep the money in your bank account. Also, with metal detectors, you want to start digging if it beeps really fast. With radar detectors, it might look suspicious to the policeman if you stop and suddenly start digging.
My roommate, Greg, claims that he doesn't need a radar detector. He says that the only instruments he needs to avoid speeding tickets are "a clear view of the speedometer and peace of mind." This might sound like a good alternative to a radar detector, but the truth is that it won't work for everyone. People like Greg are always driving to do boring stuff like buy organic milk or watch a guy play a banjo in a used bookstore, so of course they're not going to be in a rush. For the rest of us with cool interests, radar detectors can be great tools!
The biggest problem with radar detectors is they only detect police cars. If I were in charge of the radar detector companies, I'd make a radar detector help you find all sorts of stuff. Here are a few ideas:
- Those awesome cars that give away free energy drinks
- Vending machines where a guy paid but then his candy bar got stuck so the next person can totally get a two-for-the-price-of-one deal
- Stuff that lightning has struck before (since it never strikes the same place twice, you would know where to go for safety in the next storm!)
- Cargo shorts that are on sale
- Girls that are into thrifty guys who wear cargo shorts
But still, even the way they are now, radar detectors are pretty great for anyone who has to get somewhere quick and can't afford to pay tons of speeding tickets. The only problem would be if you always dream about driving. Think about it: you're driving along when all of a sudden there's all this beeping. You think it's the alarm clock so you let go of the wheel, close your eyes, and get ready for the dream to be over, but instead of "waking up" you go flying by a cop with no hands on the wheel and your eyes closed.
Then again, if you're constantly dreaming about driving, maybe you have some stuff you need to work out.