How speed cameras REALLY work revealed – as AA warns drivers to ignore myths

MOTORISTS have been warned that common myths about how to fool speed cameras can land them in hot water.

The often-complained secrets of the actual operation of speed detectors have also been revealed by the AA.


Believing in these debunked myths about speed cameras is a surefire way to get yourself in troubleCredit: Alamy

While speed cameras are generally hated by frustrated drivers, they have dramatically reduced the number of road accidents over the years.

Since 1991, traffic cameras have reduced road death rates by up to 68%, according to researchers at the London School of Economics.

However, the AA has warned motorists not to try to outsmart them by trying out some of these myths debunked.

From changing lanes to invalid hidden cameras, many popular rumors have spread since the introduction of speed detectors over 30 years ago.

The auto association said: “You shouldn’t try to avoid getting caught. It’s safest for everyone to stay within the limits – and the law – by not exceeding in the first place.”

Topping the list of fake speed detector rumors is the fact that average speed calculations can be foiled by changing lanes.

The AA said: “While older speed cameras might have been ‘tricked’, more advanced cameras now use multiple sets of cameras at each point to track all lanes and compare average speeds.”

The Ministry of Transport has announced that all speed cameras will be painted yellow to be easier to spot.

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However, many drivers also mistakenly believe that their speeding penalty is invalid if the camera is not visible.

The AA said: “Just because you didn’t see speed camera doesn’t mean the fine is invalid.

“They’re not there to be spotted and dodged – their purpose is to encourage drivers to stick to the speed limit.”

How does a radar really work?

There are several types of fixed speed cameras in use throughout the UK.

They are mainly located in areas where respecting the speed limit is essential, such as near school crossings.

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The very first version of speed cameras, the “Gatso”, is still in use today.

Named after the Dutch inventor of rally driving Maurice Gatsonides, they simply record the speed at which your car passes a particular location.

Another type is the average speed radar – which records how fast vehicles travel over a certain length of road.

These versions can curb motorists’ habit of suddenly slowing down when they reach a speed camera.

There is no limit to the length of an average speed camera network – SpeedSpike speed cameras, for example, can fit into a network of up to 1,000 separate speed cameras.

The other type of radar is speed and traffic radar – which uses radar to capture the speed at which a driver is traveling.

If your car is caught breaking the legal limit, the camera will take a digital image that includes your vehicle’s color, type, make, and license plate.

The registered owner of the vehicle then receives a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) – which must be delivered within two weeks.

The minimum penalty for speeding is usually a £100 fine and three points on your licence.

However, depending on the degree of the speed limit violation or if you are a repeat offender, it could quickly escalate.

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