How to identify a radar car on the road? 3 unmistakable signs

How to identify a radar car on the road? 3 unmistakable signs
How to identify a radar car on the road? 3 unmistakable signs

Have you ever been flashed by surprise thinking you know the location of all the fixed speed cameras? It is therefore possible that you may have encountered a radar car – or otherwise a mobile radar. These vehicles equipped with automated speed control systems have been circulating in France since 2013 and are mainly managed by private companies. You must therefore be very vigilant at all times to avoid coming across an unmarked car that would flash at you.

Controversial vehicles

Since 2018, the majority of these radar cars have been driven by employees of private companies, although some are still operated by public sector agents.

This subcontracting has been the subject of controversy, particularly due to the conflict of interest and the practices of certain drivers which were revealed by former agents. For example, a former employee criticized the condition of the vehicles and violations committed by his colleagues – such as running red lights and dangerous overtaking. These radar vehicles sometimes go against road safety standards to maximize the number of tickets: it is therefore a risky game for everyone.

To spot these unmarked cars, you have to pay attention to the subtle details. Radar cars are equipped with a black box on the dashboard (see visual below) visible from the front and sometimes from the rear if the window is not tinted. In addition, they have 2 small cameras on the windshield to record infractions, equipped with LEDs visible in the dark. This is information relayed by the Drivers’ Defense League on their Facebook page.

© Facebook / Drivers Defense League

Radar car models

Nine vehicle models are used for this surveillance mission: Ford Mondeo, Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot 508 and 308, Volkswagen Passat 7 and 8, Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Golfs. Knowing these patterns can help drivers be more vigilant when encountering them on the road. However, you should not think that every model of this type is necessarily a radar car!

Finally, a distinctive sign of radar cars is their particular license plate. In this case, they have a different font and a reflective plastic backing. Websites also list photos of known radar cars, allowing drivers to better identify them: this is, however, an illegal practice.

While it is quite easy to recognize a radar car by paying close attention, the simplest thing is to not speed. This will save you a lot of trouble and prevent you from putting those around you (and yourself) in danger on the road.

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