More road trip gadgets – technology to help prevent traffic tickets

Here at Gadling, we don’t condone, recommend or suggest speeding – in fact, I’m pretty sure every single one of us sticks to the speed limit at least 25% of the time.

So, if you find yourself on a long road trip, and begin to wonder whether the speed limit signs are the law, or merely a recommendation, then you can put technology to work staying safe from tickets.

Nowadays, there are several ways to be caught – the first is of course the old fashioned cop pulling up behind you with lights and siren. Sadly these cops now get help from red light cameras and combined red light/speed cameras.

Thankfully, the US is not as bad as Europe, where cops hide speed cameras in trash cans, trailers or on a tiny tripod in the shoulder.

In this article, you’ll learn about three technologies that could help save some money, especially if you have a bit of a lead foot.

And while I have your attention – don’t forget to check out our lineup of other cool road trip gadgets, and to enter our awesome “Perfect Road Trip” contest where you have a chance at winning an all expenses paid road trip in a new Cadillac SRX.


Trapster is like social networking for speed traps. The Trapster network allows members to receive and report locations of speed traps. Of course, the service takes full advantage of mobile technology by offering access to their database on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android powered devices, as well as Java compatible phones.

The database can even be installed on TomTom and Garmin GPS units, and you can select your own custom coverage area for loading on your device.

Price: free

Escort 9500ix radar detector

The Escort 9500ix takes radar detection to a whole new level. By combining a “regular” radar detector with a GPS receiver and PC upgradeable database, this $499 unit warns of cops with radar or laser, as well as known locations of red light/speed cameras and you can even mark “hot” and “false” spots, which means you won’t get annoying alerts when you pass the automatic doors of the local drugstore.

Before you consider purchasing a radar detector, be sure to read up on your local and state laws, and check whether your insurance company allows them to be used in your car.

Price: $499.95

GPS red light database

Got GPS in your car? If your GPS model allows for user-added point-of-interest databases, then you can often add a list of known red light cameras. Many models allow for warning signals when you get close to some categories, which means you’ll be warned in time to slow down.

In most cases you can just “drag and drop” the speed camera file to your GPS unit, some brands may require a free “POI loader”.

From: Various Internet sites (like GPS-data-team, POI Factory)
Price: Varies per site