Episode 18: Beat the Radar Detector

Air Date: October 13, 2004

Holding a large sheet of plywood will slow a fall from a building enough to make it survivable.

busted

The fall was almost completely uncontrollable and the impact was still deadly. Even under the best possible conditions the fall was not survivable. Even when the myth was stretched to custom-built constructions of the five individual plys of the plywood, neither Adam’s nor Jamie’s designs were any improvement.

Opening an umbrella will slow a fall from a building enough to make it survivable.

busted

Though different umbrellas did slow a fall, the impact was still deadly. A real parachute was also tested but found to be unable to properly arrest a fall from only 60 feet (18 metres). The best an umbrella can do is hold the person somewhat upright, causing less damage to the head.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jingling a set of keys.

busted

The keys had no effect at all.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by dangling a disco ball from the rear-view mirror.

busted

The disco ball had no effect at all. It is also illegal to have anything large and obstructive hanging off the rear-view mirror.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by dangling CDs from the rear-view mirror.

busted

The CDs had no effect at all, and are also illegal.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by covering the hubcaps in tin foil.

busted

The tin foil did not have any noticeable effect.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by covering the entire car in tin foil.

busted

The tin foil acted as a massive reflector and actually enhanced the detection ability of the radar.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jamming the lidar by lining the front license plate with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

busted

The LEDs were not strong enough to interfere with the lidar.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jamming the lidar by covering the entire car with LEDs.

not tested

While the idea did come up in the brainstorming phase it was simply too impractical to test on the full-scale car.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jamming the radar by bouncing microwaves at it.

busted

Kari’s magnetron failed to jam the police radar.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by shooting scraps of tin foil behind the car as chaff.

busted

There were just too many rogue variables to get the system to work properly, especially wind. The car was still detectable and the chaff did nothing to disrupt the radar. This solution would also likely result in a much stiffer penalty for littering.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by spinning a wheel of mirrors on top of the car slower than the actual speed of your car.

partly busted

Tory’s "Wheel of Death" actually tricked the radar into thinking the car was going one or two miles per hour slower, but not enough to help. The device itself was highly impractical. Unlike the rear-view mirror attachments, the roof mounted device was actually not illegal.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by painting the car matte-black to absorb the radar and light beams.

busted

The all black paint did nothing to reduce the detectability of the car.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by painting the car with special radar absorbing paint, like a stealth aircraft.

not tested

The special paint is loaded with iron and goes on like frosting. It was so heavy that the toy car used in the preliminary tests could barely move. It was never properly tested on the full scale car, because it would be more expensive than just paying off any speeding tickets.

58 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    the plywood myth, the construction worker cought a gust of wind? ive been on the top of a large building with a open area around it with gusty winds. i had to take a sheet of plywood to the other end, while draging, the sheet rose off the roof and a co-worker was carring his above his head, he could not hold it any longer and the sheet took off to the other end of the building. with no updraft i can not see how it would support the weight of a human, but with the right wind condision i can see being lifted and falling, to another level.

  2. paul smith says:

    about episode 18. Beating a speed camera at all. There is a way to beat a speed camera with a car, but you have to put a mirror on the back of your car. There was a show on channel nine (What happened next?)I think It aired in the late nineties.If you put a giant mirror on the back of a ute then drive it past a speed camera, the number plate will be unable to be read.

    yours sincerely

    Paul smith, Victoria

  3. Martin says:

    Top Gear (tv programme in the UK) actually managed to speed past a speed camera and not have it go off. They had to breach 175mph or so to do it though!

  4. Dan says:

    Is it possible to beat a radar gun by dragging a chain below the car there by grounding the vehicle ?
    This is the most popular solution that I have ever heard for beating radar.
    I do not know if it actually works, have you guys never heard of this before. ?

    • Joe says:

      No, that doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. Grounding doesn’t even have a remotely close relation to anything with radar. Old topic I know, but do you understand the concept of radar? Go take a look. I know it has been a while.

  5. Doug says:

    Will a flash aimed at a photo radar camera blind the camera? Using a flash extender.

  6. Brandon says:

    Regarding beating Lidar, according to radartest.com, a coating of Laser Veil will reduce the effective range of Lidar. I would like to see mythbusters revisit this myth by testing lidar beating techniques. These techniques include coating a license plate cover and headlights with Lazer vail, and installing an Escort Shifter ZR-3 laser jammer or a Blinder M-20 Extreme laser jammer.

    • Tejul says:

      First off, you need to learn to fly a RC heticopler. That takes time. Secondly, you need to buy a heticopler and then attach a camera of your own on there. To navigate a heticopler by camera and fly it, youll need a 2.4ghz camera that will deliver eyes via live feed.As for undetected by radar I don’t think you can.

      • Marcio says:

        In Europe LiDAR has been used to map solar potential for some time. Blom UK and our German paenrtr Sun-Area, are able to offer a solar potential mapping service right now using 1m LiDAR data. We are currently mapping the first UK city to commission the service and have mapped over 150 towns and cities in Germany.

  7. Paul says:

    Come on guys tell us what will work!!!

    How about laser Jammers, they’re outlawed in some states???

    • Trever says:

      Only in 12 states U can not have a laZer jammer .

  8. Fred Whalen says:

    Episode 18. In the plywood myth, where a worker is blown off a building, your concept of the problem seems flawed. Tory couldn’t hold the plywood back, but could he have held his own weight, supported underneith the plywood?
    If the sheet of plywood were tethered to the truck, so it wouldn’t be blown away, and Tory, seperately tethered to the truck, were to cling to the bottom of the plywood, the test would be more realistic.
    All that would be necessary to confirm the myth is for Tory to support his own weight from the tethered plywood, as it’s lifted by the wind.
    The myth wasn’t to see if a man could hold back a piece of wind blown wood, but rather, to see if he could glide under that wood, bearing only his own weight, not the force of the wind.

  9. Ed says:

    You guys aren’t testing Lidar/Laser myth correctly. Why don’t you guys use something that MIGHT actually work.. like an Escort laser jammer, not your pathetic foil or LEDs. After all, it is meant for the purpose.

    • peter says:

      Y do ppl feel the need to promote laser jammers etc….if the police don’t believe they work then fine great for us! Leave it at that instead of trying to rub it in their faces… Then people want to know why they are being outlawed everywhere? I just don’t get it…so counterproductive and asinine!

  10. Jacky Chan Fan says:

    In one of his movies Jacky Chan tied a few umbrellas together and it slowed his fall from a tall building.. so maybe one umbrella may not help, but three or four may.

  11. james says:

    the laser and radar test are pretty cool, I’m kind of addicted to the radar and laser stuff. I also purchase all my products from 1stradardetectors.com Those folks are very knowledgeable about all radar and laser countermeasures and could be considered a source for your information.

  12. David says:

    I didn’t see tested using aluminum foil, in strips, hanging by a string not be their edge, dangling from the lid of the trunk. Since they dangle, they are constantly in motion, twirling, swaying side to side, etc. This should deflect some portion of the radar waves in some other direction causing fewer to actually be received which will give slower or an indeterminate speed reading.

  13. Phil says:

    This site http://www.phantomplate.com/reflector.html sells The Reflectorâ„¢ Cover and claims Fox31, ABC, NBC, Techtv and CBS News say it works to stop traffic cameras from seeing your plate. However, Mythbusters claim they are Busted and do not work. What is the truth and how can I beleive it the source?

  14. Jb says:

    With the speed camera’s:

    I heard a story where the car owner had installed hydrolics on his boot, so when he saw the camera/radar, he flipped the switch, his boot went up, and when he got a chance he pulled over a pulled the boot back down.

    Impractical but possible.

    And only works for rear numberplate reading, not front.

  15. felix says:

    Is it possible for a police radar gun to detect if you are speeding while their vehicle is in movement coming toward you or should they have to be at a complete stop for the radar gun to work.

    • Imoru says:

      My apologies, I rhtaer hastily commented using an old blog ID. I’ve listened to this several times now and am thoroughly enjoying it. I find it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell when odd releases such as this were recorded. Great felt tip sleeve art too. I’d love to hear that B-side at some point if you do feel like sharing. Thanks again.

    • Dan says:

      Many places have radar installed in the front of police vehicles, Australia and New Zealand to name two. They can read your speed while approaching you (both driving toward each other), so yes radar can work stationary or otherwise.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Felix – Yes, it is possible for a police officer to radar you while in motion. (to my knowledge, at least) – Cops have an active radar that I think reports two numbers. one for each reading.. maybe one for each direction… I’m not entirely sure. But yeah, they run radar while in motion. They usually shoot laser while stationary or just sit there with their radar running.

  17. ivan van den bogaert says:

    Won’t the plate, with glitter glas and the magnifying plas, be reflected by night? (also cut the light from the car that enlights the plate). The flash on the camera has no effect by day because there is already enough light . By night you need a flash and this lightsource can be distorded .

  18. Branden says:

    Radar Jammers? You can buy one that is the same size as normal radar detector, and there are liscense plate mounted ones.

  19. travis says:

    do laser jammers work how bout photoradar work?

    • Trever says:

      Yes laser jammers do work I have the blinder hp905 in my truck an I like it alot

  20. Dylan says:

    You guys should save your money and just obey the law and not speed.

  21. Lorenzo Colanesca says:

    Why not just shape the car so that it reflects at the wrong angles like with stealth aircraft?

  22. glen m. says:

    I have been saved from a ticket using my BEL 940 Laser -Radar5 detector…My own designed license plate cover that stops reflection of the plate.Blacked out chome..black pickup truck..headlights on..The police shoot lidar at my plate & get NO reading..My detector warns me & I HIT THE BRAKES..I dont intend on speeding BUT some times your going down a hill in a 25MPH zone and dont know your going 35MPG or more !!!!

    • Dylan says:

      They were testing it USA wise, and here radar detectors are legal, and even advertised in popular magazines like PopSci and Skymall.

  23. glen m. says:

    GET A bubble type plate cover & a report-folder cover from staples office supply ..the smoked kind that looks distorted when you look though it. use 2 pieces doubled(you will have to make holes for the bolts.cover the plate then put clear plate cover over the plate..take some fine steel wool & dull the plastic cover..(Warning!! Plate cover may be Illegal in your area !!) but is not a Moving violation…

  24. adam says:

    Hello, I saw a technique that millitary ships use to scatter incoming radar waves, they have sprayers, (well more like big water jets called monitors), that create a wide curtain or water that surround the ship. the incoming radio wave hits the water first and is either absorbed and dissipated as heat, or is reflected at random angles.

    The impracticalities of this may would be the water and the pump, transporting it ect.

    The other tried and tested method would be a smoke screen. this will foil the camera ever reading the number plate. This can be achived by injecting antifreeze into the hot exhaust manifold of an engine.

  25. bifimera says:

    the substance used on stealth vehicles is cashew oil.

  26. tony says:

    I drive truck for a living,and an old myth that has always been around is that police radar do not work when its raining.is there any truth to it,as i do not want to test the theroy myself!

  27. Rolly says:

    I work in an Aerial Lidar Mapping unit. I can say Lidar has it’s faults. I’d say with Lidar you probablt cant use it in the rain, but I wouldn’t know with radar. I can say that there are some colours that are Lidar invisible, but are they invisible to Radar? Maybe the Mythbusters Guys will want to carry our a few more experiments? I can show some examples. Could also be a commercial venture out of this one…. ;-)

  28. Jojo says:

    I would like to know under what conditions it is possible to fight a ticket successfully. If it was really windy that day is the radar less accurate? If there is another vehicle in the picture is the reading less likely to be true? We will all get tickets no matter how hard we try to avoid them but how can we make them go away without a conviction? Give us the science to create that ‘reasonable doubt’!

    • Rush says:

      Yes, radar works fine in the wind. And yes, another vehicle can make a difference. The radar unit reports on the fastest thing it sees. It is up to the cop to see determine which driver to hang it on (easy enough to do; who is passing who?)

      OTOH – radar can reflect off of large signs and potentially report the speed of – say – an oncoming vehicle, when the cop was following you.

      The best “science” is a good radar detector. I use a Valentine; it has paid for itself on at least two occasions.

      Escort is the other top end brand; you won’t go wrong with either.

    • waylon says:

      Ive heard that heavy rain and very bright sunshine will delar the reading of a radar. But not completely . Gives you enough time to slow down though if you at least have a radar detector (:

  29. KR says:

    They ignored the original plywood myth after 15 seconds. I just don’t get this ‘science’ show.

  30. Sven says:

    I have a simple solution that works, you get some very fine sandpaper and scratch off the reflective paint turn your letters into something else, ie e all of a sudden becomes a b upon camera flash, make sure ur rego sticker is up nice and high on an angle and hard to see as well, also dont forget , dont put stickers on your car like for sale, i know an idiot that took his plates off and drove past a roadside camera car over and over, the idiot left the mobile number on his car and got booked

  31. Joe says:

    do illuminated headlights defeat lidar?

    • David says:

      Well only a few headlights source enough energy in the right bandwidth to have any effect, and only in older guns. Sadly Mythbusters has some science but not due diligence. If they had gotten the right LEDS (890nm to 910nm) and pulsed them at about 2 mhz with a 40 ns wide pulse. The LIDAR gun would have been blind. Again however that would have taken effort on their part to piss off the cops. And they cannot afford to do that. There are many many things you will never see on Mythbusters because they need to play nice with the police.

      • David says:

        No , because they are not putting out the right wavelength of light to jam, and even then only a few guns would be affected by a “allways on” source of IR, To confuse the lidar gun you have to be transmitting as close to 905nm( nanometers ) as you can at high enough pulse rate to have the first pulse hit the sensor during its gated period.

  32. Garry says:

    The problem with trying to beat radar is that you have to know the radar signature of what your trying to hide and then come up with something that will mask that signature. This is the type of thing that only the military/government has the backing to accomplish.

  33. Dylan says:

    There actually is a coating in the prototype phase, which speeds the waves up then slow them down upon exiting. It is meant for submarines but I’m sure could be modified for a car.

  34. just me says:

    First off I work with a Police Laser every day. I can tell you the down falls are inclimate weather (rain spray from the roadway) do affect the distance I can acquire speeds (usually up to 600-800 ft). My particular unit will mesure a speed from 3000 feet (yes I have verified it with a shot longer than that). Also bright sun and dark vehicles cause problems for some unknown reason. I always eventually get a reading though. Fact of the matter is this. With a laser I will eventually get a speed even with a jammer. At some point when you get close enough I will get a return signal because as you get closer my beam gets narrower reducing your jamming capability. With a jammer your simply buying time to slow down so I dont get your real speed. All those “reflective plates” and stuff are just a myth. I have issued tickets to those, fancy radar/laser detectors, ect. As for laser (Im certified and have used that as well) the detectors alert you if we have it as a constant on. If we simply tap it on after we identify you may get a little lower reading but your probly going to get stopped anyway. Ive never heard of a radar jammer down here where i work but hey anything is possible I guess. BTW yes we can acquire your speed as were driving since the radar track our speed and makes the proper adjustments on the frequency return.

  35. Joshua Smithwick says:

    The Question is: Can the Police radar/ lazer be jamed and how; Is there an powered antenna that may interfere with the freq.

  36. waylon says:

    It has been proved that you can jam a radar by using the escort jammer. They should try this myth again using different methods. Professionals that design police radars have admitted that the escort radar jammer will effectively jam their radars.

  37. Chris says:

    Im going to build a stealth .Car.First off om going to buy a car with a low rear number plate and add a tow ball and ant jack knife kit(Obscure) .Then im going to move my front to the right hand side(Avoid).Away from nova units who hand out on the left verge .Im adding12 IR LEDS that will glare out the the IR Flash at night into the plate(Over expose) .and a Full spectrum flash sync for the front and read for red light cams (Over expose).I am adding a Laser jammer kit .And I have found a window tint that replects 60% or IR away and adding it to the headlights and front window that will bounce the IR signals upwards and THEN COATING the the inside of my headlamps with veil (Absorb) the rest .Look at a F22 their is not just 1 stand alone componant that makes it stealth .Its layers upon layers of defence .Teat your stealth car like a Its a black box project .If the car was shaped like a F117 nighthawk but out of mirrors a laser would fail to get your speed .But its inpractical .Also Lasers at events are powerfull and can destroy camras if it hits the sensor .But this is not new todays aircraft use lasers to destroy the homing sensor in missies ect .You need to make the car harder to get a signal on and your counter measures less difficult to get past .But pepole are doing it wrong .Do you think the police can Track a war plane ? Then study them think like them build like them .

  38. Chris says:

    Also the wheel of death will work if you make it reflective .Cover the area thats moving fowards the camra and then spin in 100KPH in the obbosie direction : D allong with making the rest of the car less likly to give off a stronger signal that your Wheel a pair in your headligs should do it as that where thy targate you

  39. Mr Black says:

    Re beating speed camera and or radar guns, LaserVeil has been proven to substantially reduce the distance that radar guns will detect a vehicle’s speed, it will reduce the effective distance of the radar gun by as much as 90% and some guns will just jam.

    I live in the UK and have used LaserVeil with excellent results bear in mind that mobile speed cameras are used on much shorter roads than the USA’s

  40. Jay D. Anderson says:

    Most of the myths tested have no basis in science and were ridiculous to begin with. Wheel of mirrors might for RADAR/LiDAR but since police operate their RADAR set to “fastest vehicle” it would ignore a signal showing a slower vehicle. Police actually visually try to determine which vehicle in the 12 degree RADAR path is the fastest — hard to do and why many people get tickets for speeding that wasn’t their doing! Now if you ran that wheel at an RPM that was over the speed limit the RADAR gun can register and used Mil-Spec RAM on the vehicle you would have something that would work. The police would get a very strong signal from the revolving reflector that would say 310 mph (out of limit of their gun) and that would be the “fastest vehicle.”

    The RADAR “ball paint” — we know that works or the US Military wouldn’t be using it — right? The problem is your application of it. The material should be applied in a gradient of densities from low to high (from inbound RADAR wave POV). The material should have resonate particle size — maybe carbon-fiber or stainless steel fiber to cut lengths. You can’t just mix up a batch of “ball paint” and slather it on and hope you got it. You probably made the vehicle even more reflective to RADAR. See the depth of the coating also must be tuned because you want the back-reflection to be 180 degrees out-of-phase with the inbound RADAR wave and so cancel some of it out. I can show you how to get a vehicle (preferably a motorcycle — smaller cross-section already) to reflect less than 1% of the RADAR that hits it (-20dB of attenuation). Of course — if you are speeding in a group of vehicles and there are other vehicles speeding you will get that other speeder’s ticket if you appear to be the fastest vehicle. Also, there is a danger that if you don’t present a reflection at a distance and someone else around you is speeding that presents a strong reflection further away — like a panel truck — you may get their speeding ticket! Best to have a deployable tetrahedral reflector so you have a good reflection when you are not speeding. Jay D. Anderson — Scientist Extraordinaire

  41. Jay D. Anderson says:

    Hey… one last comment (cause I am on a roll) and just realized something that should be shared: I can show you how to stealth a vehicle to RADAR/LiDAR using the same proven technologies the US Military uses — not “Urban Myths.” Even in military application it isn’t about “Total Invisibility” though but rather reducing the strength of the reflected Doppler signal for RADAR and reducing LiDAR reflectivity for LiDAR. Even the Stealth B2 Bomber had a RADAR cross-section — it is not truly invisible. It may have the cross-section of a pigeon though and mix in with other birds. But when they open the bomb doors they reveal a much larger cross-section for that time.

    It is easier to stealth from Police RADAR/LiDAR because it isn’t about being detected – the cops will see you — you are already “detected” — that is a given. You are only concerned about the reflection revealing your speed.

    Something else that is easier on the street is that due to cosine error the Police must be within 30 degrees of center forward to limit cosine error that works in the speeder’s favor. Also, you can concentrate 90% of your $$ and efforts on the front because most speed detection is done from the front (90% of the time)– that is because the Police want to wave you over and not chase you down. Another street benefit is that there are no worries about someone below you, above you, or to your sides so really you only need to protect the front and rear 30 degrees to stealth a vehicle.

    The idea of this is to reduce the effectiveness (the range) that Police speed measuring devices can operate on your vehicle so that by the time you are close enough to that they can get your speed you have already seen them and have slowed to posted speed limit.

    I believe it is very possible to come very close to total stealth on the LiDAR side but not completely. Even your own face is reflective to RADAR to a degree.

    BTW, I don’t speed. But I do see a lot of misuse of RADAR by police. My own daughter got a ticket for speeding 35 MPH in a 25 MPH zone and she was just taking off from a stop at a stop light when a police car pulled in from a side street behind her. Likely the police RADAR got a strong reflection from a large panel truck a block ahead — that wasn’t even in the officer’s immediate view. That was attributed to my daughter who was just beginning to roll forward.

  42. Ratt says:

    Standard radar guns are limited by there operating frequency’s there allowed to transmit hence there almost total replacement by lidars which snap a picture of the then redirected beam comeing back in at itself specifically at its specially treated photovoltaic lense and using a time delay of all 3 of its pulsed lasor “blinked” heat readings and its built in algorithms in a way only computers can do to compute how fast your going so only as good as the weather conditions and the reason black is a pain ppl is it absorbs part of lasors incoming heat on contact aka it partially displaces the lasor sensor like a bucket overturned in your backyard but as other ppl have said unlike the bucket this guys more like a squirt gun lol operating any thing short of a elctronically controlled heatwave dish using alternating high/low volume loads would confuse it like it was droped into an electric heat mirage that just wouldnt go away since its maintained electronically lol high speed car zigzags alternating with 360° radial solar heatsinks and a runing a constant barage of high/medium/low watt/amp short/mid/long rang frequency’s should do the trick on both systems

  43. Ratt the Red says:

    Also the magnetron units built into all “microwave ovens” ( the ones we deemed safe under normal conditions) operating within the us are all wired to strictly work within the fixed radio bands allocated to just them and are thus are really a pain to retrofit since to make them transmit/operate outside of those fixed bands would essentially just be makeing them into *normal* radio transmitter/recievers shrugs Me I’d try a retrofitting something that’s already set up that way ( in bridge mode anyway )by using a large wifi hub or ( series of routers ) or even maybe some old school dialup modems and with those and voltage controllers hooked to custom circuits to generate alternating multiple frequency attacks and make a standard radar jammer for roughly around 3 or 4 hundred bucks and depending on your vehicle a maybe voltage controlled heat aray to jam lidar

  44. Jbaked says:

    The Airforce has a dodge vapor, that is covered in radar absorbing paint. Time to test that myth.

  45. Dan says:

    what if you cover the vehicle in Refrigerator magnets? would the magnets absorb the electromagnetic pulses?

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