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Crown Victoria Headlight Detector

Learn if that car behind you at night is a cop or not
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I have received three speeding tickets and each has been late at night. I usually get clocked (speed estimated by the officer's speedometer) and end up with a ticket. Once I had been tailgated for over four miles and gradually increasing speed because that car in my mirror was right on my bumper. So, surprize surprize,I eventually hit the magical number of 15 mph over and got a ticket. If only I could have been able to tell if that car had been a cruiser then I could have avoided the ticket.

When the car behind you has its headlights on it can be next to impossible to try to discern whether its a police cruiser or not from the rear-view mirror. So why not have a way to recognize the headlights?

In my area, almost all the police cruisers are Ford Crown Victorias. If someone created some type of light sensing system that could recognize the unique attributes of the Crown Vics headlights then it could alert the driver. I would think that most vehicles' headlights have individual characteristics that could be measured. Each type of bulb would emit different types of light in the spectrum and the lens would cause it to focus or seperate in a way that ought to make almost every headlamp unique. It could be adapted to recognize other vehicles too, in case the police are using something else. It could possibly also be used by the police to recognize a suspects car or identify lawbreakers at a distance (like a red-light camera).


       Welcome to the Halfbakery...
froglet, Jun 23 2005

       The safest way to avoid being pulled for speeding is... (Anyone? Anyone?)
angel, Jun 23 2005

       we're all so well behaved, there just has to be a cop coming up behind.
po, Jun 23 2005

       Go so fast they can't catch you ?
normzone, Jun 23 2005

Worldgineer, Jun 23 2005

       ah, so I can edit- thanks. I am new to this.   

       The Michigan State Police are now using Jeep Pathfinders to lay in wait for speeders. Apparently the Crown Vics have been selling better than expected and the high gas prices have slowed the SUV market to a crawl. So, why not help out the Big Dogs who build big dog boxes on wheels by buying up what we cannot afford to gas up. Let's use our tax dollars too. Sorry to put a pin in your great idea. Sure enough, the next time you get stopped, it will be a Vic again, for sure. And you had been looking for that Pathfinder! As for me, I bicycle whenever the distance is ten miles or less. Sometimes I bicycle sixty miles, but then I stink and cannot meet the public for awhile. Divine_Messenger
Divine_Messenger, Jun 24 2005

       If the cop is tailgating you could (and this takes nerve) quickly tap your brakes, then accelerate so the cop doesn't hit you. Then, when the cop pulls you over, you nail him for tailgating
Garboon, Jun 24 2005

       The other day I was going down a stretch of road which drops from a 55mph to a 35 mph very quickly before a stoplight. I have never seen traffic go through that portion at 35. I had a cruiser following me and I decided to have some fun. Before I crossed the 35 I let up on the gas and pulled lightly on the handbrake (which dosen't trip the brake lights) and slowed rather slowly. Next thing I know the cruiser turns off to the side of me nearly out of control, as he swerved to miss me. He was still going at 55 and wasn't expecting me (or anyone) to slow down. He was far enough back that, had he been paying attention, then he would have been able to slow down. Frankly, I would have liked him to hit me. It would have been very entertaining.   

       The crown vic only has a top speed of 130. My car does 143 mph top speed, so now I'm not going to stop. Thanks for the info. Down shifting can accomplish the same thing. Car slows down but with no brake lights. Have to have a manual car though.
10clock, Jun 24 2005

       Is it not strange that the Americans have a car called Crown Victoria? Tally ho!
oldchina, Jun 24 2005

       I might be a little too jaded for this idea, since my cop-detecting skills have been worked out so heavily over the years that I can generally spot a cop car instantly, even the sneaky ones that are black and unmarked. Most cops have a distinct driving style, somewhere between "protect and serve" and "what are YOU gonna do about it, asshole?" I think that's how I spot them. I've seen a few that I never would have guessed, including a yellow Corvette, green Trans Am, black Club Wagon (SWAT likes those), red F-150, and a few more I can't remember anymore.
AfroAssault, Jun 24 2005

       You wouldn't happen to have a "Washington Presidential" across the pond would you?   

       No Presidentials here. For some reason our Ford car names tend to have a Spanish twang.
oldchina, Jun 24 2005

       //Crown Victoria Headlights// The best detectors available are your own eyes.
AfroAssault is right: there is a certain style of driving that the police adopt when waiting for you to trip up. Don't you ever get that 'funny feeling'? If you are watching carefully, you will also see that they rapidly catch you up, then match your speed. If you miss all of that, then you deserve what you get.
Ling, Jun 24 2005

       If someone's tailgating me, I tend to hit the brakes sharply, just long enough that the lights come on, the car pitches forward, etc. It's noticeable, they don't go into the back of you, and they tend to drop back afterwards.   

       [Afro], when you say you spotted some unlikely-looking unmarked police cars from the driving style, how did you find out you were right?   

       [10clock], your car can do 143mph, but can you? And can you drive faster than the cop's radio signal which arranges a roadblock in your path?
david_scothern, Jun 24 2005

       //The crown vic only has a top speed of 130. My car does 143 mph top speed, so now I'm not going to stop.//   

       You might want to look up if that is the top speed for the Police Interceptor Version of the Crown Vic that they would likely be using.   

       My apologies. I looked it up and found it listed at 129 with no top lights or equipt. in the trunk. It also mentioned that speed was limited by a chip and by no means the upper limit of the car's capability.
You have to ask yourself, is that chip still in there?

       I also agree with [david_scothern].   

       (edit) I just now saw (or maybe re-saw) [fqhwgad]'s link. I guess by the time I read all the anno's I had forgotten about it. sorry.
Zimmy, Jun 25 2005

       Some UK police used to run a "police special" version of the Vauxhall Senator which did about 150, faster than pretty much anything available other than very expensive supercars. They were a bit annoyed when Vauxhall introduced the Carlton Lotus which, for £48,000, had a listed top speed of 176.
angel, Jun 25 2005

       Signs indicating a speed limit of 300000 kilometers per second should be posted on the Autobahn.
You just know that some teen out there will figure out how to break it.

       //[Afro], when you say you spotted some unlikely-looking unmarked police cars from the driving style, how did you find out you were right?//
The ones I WOULDN'T have known were cops had cars pulled over, otherwise I never woulda thunkit. The ones I spotted on my own seemed suspicious for whatever reasons, and then I'd notice some blue and red lights hidden somewhere, whether on the grill or somewhere in the back window. Also, I spotted one quite a ways behind me that I just knew was a cop. Since I was driving a car with no plates, my suspicion was confirmed when I saw the flashing lights.

//You have to ask yourself, is that chip still in there?//
In my old hometown, a friend of my boss knew how to disable the chip (or maybe replace it, I don't really know). The police force paid him a good amount of money to fix their cruisers, so if you happen to be driving in Salt Lake County, don't expect to outrun the cops too easily.
AfroAssault, Jun 25 2005

       //If someone's tailgating me, I tend to hit the brakes sharply, just long enough that the lights come on,// You might not want to do that here [david_scothern] (Netherlands).   

       Someone has (tipped the brakes), the bumperhugger panicked, hit a ditch and died. The brakehitter was convicted for manslaughter.   

       (Yeah I know were a sick little country in some aspects)
Susan, Jun 25 2005

       AfroAssault- "...and then I'd notice some blue and red lights hidden somewhere, whether on the grill or somewhere in the back window."   

       Depending on the municipality you live in, those cars could belong to firefighters or EMTs. I have a lot of low profile lignts in my grille, mounted inside behind the windshield on the roof and flush-mounted to the fenders. If you look hard you can see them but my Geo Tracker is in no way a police cruiser.   

       Leave earlier, drive slower, arrive safely with your fine-paying wallet and demerit-vulnerable license unmolested. I know it's neither funny nor charmingly impractical, but it works for me and lots of other folks.
elhigh, Jun 28 2005

       UnaBubba- I am a firefighter and EMT. If I want to pretend I am a police officer I go down to the station and ask to ride along.   

       Welcome new poster, Andy Devine's messenger.
mensmaximus, Jun 28 2005


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