Monday, March 5, 2007

Valentine One police radar detector

OK. I confess. I'm a speeder. I view the posted speed limit as just a gentle advisory, not an real limit. I prefer to set my actual driving speed based on road conditions, weather, traffic, lighting, and my own degree of alertness. Sometimes I drive slower than the signs say I can. Most of the time I drive faster. Sometimes a lot faster.

Years ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I drove from Riverhead, Long Island to Manhattan in 50 minutes. During the day, it would probably have taken four hours. I didn't set out to establish a new Land Speed Record; but I won't deny that speed thrills. And besides, if you travel at 120MPH, it takes just half as long to get somewhere, as driving at 60.

I don't do anything that I consider stupid. My cars have always been well maintained. I've never crashed into anything. I don't get a lot of tickets, and I've never been put in jail or lost my license.

I'm pretty good at spotting unmarked cop cars. In the 1970s, I used a CB radio to listen for Smokie reports. I try to travel in the middle of a pack of speeders, rather than to lead the pack. I don't speed in a bright red Corvette or Ferrari. I always use a radar detector.

I've had lots of different detectors over the years, but none of them have been as effective as my beloved Valentine One.

It's a perpetual winner in car mag reviews, and has helped me to avoid lots of fines. Valentine One has an unusual design with two radar antennas (and two laser sensors) -- facing front and rear -- to scan around your car to locate each radar threat so you can adjust your driving. It almost never gives false alerts, and is ruggedly built and easy to install.

It ain't cheap, but its $399 price might be less than you'd pay for speeding fines. For that price you get the detector, plus windshield mount, visor mount, lighter adapter, coiled power cord, straight power cord, direct-wire power adapter, wiring-harness connector, owner's manual, interlocking fastener, spare suction cups, and a spare fuse. CLICK for info and ordering.

Valentine One was new in 1992. Since then, every part inside the magnesium case has been improved at least once, to keep Valentine One the top performer. Since 1994, whenever Valentine made a performance breakthrough, they offered it to past customers as an upgrade. The price varies, depending on the parts required. Upgrades include a one-year warranty; it's just like getting a brand-new detector.

Company boss Mike Valentine says, "Other radar detector makers want you to throw away your old detector and buy new. Not me. Years after the first Valentine One, I'm still working for that customer, because every Valentine One we've ever made can be upgraded to the latest technology."

Even the best radar detector doesn't provide perfect protection. On a recent 3,000 mile round trip to Florida, I had "budgeted" two speeding tickets. I was only stopped once, for doing 91 in a 70MPH zone. Smokie gave me a "courtesy warning" from the Georgia State Patrol. Thank you, officer, and yes, I'll be more careful in the future.

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