The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 18: Beat the Radar Detector

Premier Date: October 13, 2004

Holding a large sheet of plywood will slow a fall from a building enough to make it survivable.

busted

The fall was almost completely uncontrollable and the impact was still deadly. Even under the best possible conditions the fall was not survivable. Even when the myth was stretched to custom-built constructions of the five individual plys of the plywood, neither Adam’s nor Jamie’s designs were any improvement.

Opening an umbrella will slow a fall from a building enough to make it survivable.

busted

Though different umbrellas did slow a fall, the impact was still deadly. A real parachute was also tested but found to be unable to properly arrest a fall from only 60 feet (18 metres). The best an umbrella can do is hold the person somewhat upright, causing less damage to the head.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jingling a set of keys.

busted

The keys had no effect at all.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by dangling a disco ball from the rear-view mirror.

busted

The disco ball had no effect at all. It is also illegal to have anything large and obstructive hanging off the rear-view mirror.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by dangling CDs from the rear-view mirror.

busted

The CDs had no effect at all, and are also illegal.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by covering the hubcaps in tin foil.

busted

The tin foil did not have any noticeable effect.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by covering the entire car in tin foil.

busted

The tin foil acted as a massive reflector and actually enhanced the detection ability of the radar.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jamming the lidar by lining the front license plate with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

busted

The LEDs were not strong enough to interfere with the lidar.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jamming the lidar by covering the entire car with LEDs.

not tested

While the idea did come up in the brainstorming phase it was simply too impractical to test on the full-scale car.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by jamming the radar by bouncing microwaves at it.

busted

Kari’s magnetron failed to jam the police radar.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by shooting scraps of tin foil behind the car as chaff.

busted

There were just too many rogue variables to get the system to work properly, especially wind. The car was still detectable and the chaff did nothing to disrupt the radar. This solution would also likely result in a much stiffer penalty for littering.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by spinning a wheel of mirrors on top of the car slower than the actual speed of your car.

partly busted

Tory’s "Wheel of Death" actually tricked the radar into thinking the car was going one or two miles per hour slower, but not enough to help. The device itself was highly impractical. Unlike the rear-view mirror attachments, the roof mounted device was actually not illegal.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by painting the car matte-black to absorb the radar and light beams.

busted

The all black paint did nothing to reduce the detectability of the car.

It is possible to legally beat the police speed radar and/or lidar by painting the car with special radar absorbing paint, like a stealth aircraft.

not tested

The special paint is loaded with iron and goes on like frosting. It was so heavy that the toy car used in the preliminary tests could barely move. It was never properly tested on the full scale car, because it would be more expensive than just paying off any speeding tickets.