Introduction: Speed Trap Prank

Picture of Speed Trap Prank

I did this a few times in high school when I was bored.  It simply consists of pretending to have a radar gun and laughing when the car speeding past you slams on the brakes.  Even parked at the end of my driveway in the red minivan I drove, I had the neighbors slowing down upon seeing the hair dryer pointed out the window.    

Step 1: Get a Hair Dryer and a Vehicle

Picture of Get a Hair Dryer and a Vehicle

Any old blow dryer will work, although I suppose the larger and clunkier the better.  If you don't have a blow dryer available, anything that looks like a radar gun will do (Pringles can maybe...or a painted Nerf gun).  You also need a vehicle to sit in.  A Crown Vic. is of course the most obvious choice, but as I said before I made this work with a red minivan.

Step 2: Pick the Location

Picture of Pick the Location

Park yourself somewhere.  Don't obstruct traffic or park anywhere illegal (median of the freeway), but park yourself on the side of a road where people tend to speed (which in most places is anywhere). High traffic areas will of course give you more opportunities to laugh.  If you have a specific target in mind, you'll need to park somewhere they'll drive by.

Step 3: Let the Fun Begin!

Picture of Let the Fun Begin!

Roll down one of the front windows, point the hair dryer out the window and enjoy.  You can pivot the dryer to follow cars as they breeze by or lean out the window to make sure more cars see you.  Either way, drivers will panic and slam on the brakes.  If you're in a more obvious car (like a yellow beetle let's say) people will be even more confused and wonder what the local police department is thinking.  


vampyredh (author)2010-03-26

Ok I am not going to sugar coat this. This "Prank" is a felony if caught it could be a five year prison sentence for impersonation of a police officer.

hoihoi151 (author)vampyredh2010-03-30

 not if u dont pull them over. if someone asks why you have a hairdryer out the window you just say. is it illegal to have a hair dryer? technically your not impersonating anyone. people are making an assumption that you are a police officer because u have a radar shaped implement. if a police officer asks what you are doing u can just say im playing with a hair dryer, i am trying to see weither my hair dryer can blow away a moving car.
luckily for me i live in Australia the cops here dont make stupid unjustified assumptions about people and dont resort to brut force to make a point. my friend is a police officer here and he says if he saw someone with a hair dryer out the window of their car he wouldn't fine them because if people are slowing down then at least they aren't speeding so they are safer. see the police in the US have the intelligence level of a small bird. they get agressive every time they find someone doing something mildly wrong and use force to make themselves feel better. what is better sticking a hair dryer out the window as a citizen or beating someone on the ground in the "name of the law"?

vampyredh (author)hoihoi1512010-03-30

and that is why it is illegal not because your saying your a cop but because you are giving someone the impression you are law enforcement I.E impersonating a law enforcement office punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years.

hoihoi151 (author)vampyredh2010-03-30

 not if u are not wearing a badge nor uniform.
so what your telling me is if i walk around on the street with a pair of handcuffs on my belt and nothing else that i can be arrested for impersonating an officer??
because thats essentially what your doing, going out without any police materials and standing around.

vampyredh (author)hoihoi1512010-03-31

look  am I a lawyer trut me when I say your a moron if you think it isn't illegal  you can and probably will get arrested for doing things like this. here are some examples

and this one is practically the same thing only he had a badge and gun but same situation

so now hopefully you get the picture this is not good and i would suggest never doing this for a criminal record may be facing you.

DJ Radio (author)vampyredh2010-03-31

Both examples you have shown have the criminals wearing police uniforms.  The first example has the perp handcuffing and taking $25 cash from the victim. 

Hoihoi is arguing that you can't be impersonating a police officer if you aren't wearing a uniform or badge.  I would find it to be correct.

vampyredh (author)DJ Radio2010-04-01

you guys go ahead and do it then have fun don't call me to represent you because I will laugh in your face when it happens because your doing something your warned is illegal. and as far as my spelling is concerned thats why I have a secretary, and if you knew anything about the law you would know that as well.

Why would we call you to represent us? Theres plenty of other good lawyers than you

infraled (author)vampyredh2010-09-19

hahahaha this thread was so funny to read. I'm glad this is here for people to read for all time. Why comment and make yourself look stupid? Amazing.

rennoc (author)vampyredh2010-03-31

trut me?
If you were a decent lawyer you would know to check your spelling!

I won't get a criminal record for pointing an unplugged hair drier at traffic!
If i do i will most likely take it to court!
-and hopefully win :0

hoihoi151 (author)rennoc2010-04-01

 i think conclusively we can close this argument. with the following statement. 
If you are not wearing a police uniform or badge. then the most a officer will do is caution you. 
Its not a recommended thing for a person to do it. and the cops will probably give u a bit of hassel but at the end of the day. no uniform no badge and no cuffing people then they cant charge you.

rennoc (author)vampyredh2010-03-31

Anybody can put a picture of a lawyer on there profile- you could be a Spanish hobo living in a van down by the river!

Every day- you may go to a public library to use a computer for whatever reason...

hoihoi151 (author)vampyredh2010-03-31

 exactly DJ Radio's point. your not wearing a uniform or badge. 

tmusson (author)vampyredh2013-10-17

It's legal to own and use radar guns. Unless you're dressing up like a cop or painting your car or putting lights on it to make people think it's a cop car, you cannot be reasonably mistaken for an officer of the law.
It's a jerk move, and possibly dangerous (especially when the description says it makes people "slam on the brakes"), and thus possibly frowned upon or even illegal in the "don't shout fire in a public room" sense, but NOT because you're impersonating an officer.

crapflinger (author)2010-03-11

be aware that if you're doing this and you happen to have a real cop pass by they can (and probably will) come to investigate, and they can (and probably will) at a bare minimum write you a ticket

Kiteman (author)crapflinger2010-03-11

If he isn't labelled as a policeman, there is no offence involved in pointing a disconnected hair-dryer at traffic.

Just Bill (author)Kiteman2012-07-16

Particularly if the CV is pointed at traffic with the hair dryer sitting on the dashboard while he occasionally talks on a CB radio.

I can't tell you how many times I've wished it was legal to actually shoot at cars with boom boxes turned up so loud that they were also loud inside my house.

Anybody got an instructable to remotely disable one of those? Bonus if it's battery operated so I could move it around the neighborhood to keep my house from being pinpointed as the source of the 'boom killer'.

danlab (author)Kiteman2010-03-14

he does say, and I quote "It simply consists of pretending to be a police officer with a radar gun..." while the officer won't have read this he is impersonating a cop which could be to the disliking of cops. If you're careful you could get away with it but if you go as far as to make a uniform or wear something that looks like a uniform, you would only be asking for trouble.

Kiteman (author)danlab2010-03-15

Yeh, I kind of meant "wearing a police-like uniform" when I used the phrase "labelled as a policeman".

I don't know what it's like in other countries, but in the UK there are more people wearing fluorescent jackets than just police officers.

I have two.

crapflinger (author)Kiteman2010-03-15

well, Kiteman has probably not met too many cops from the american south. they wouldn't "take too kindly" to something like this. possibly a bit of a stretch to think that they'd write you a ticket (though i've know a few cops that would find something to write you up for) but they would definitely make the rest of your afternoon less than entertaining

Kiteman (author)crapflinger2010-03-15

I've met two, when my hire-car conked out in Florida.  I know, it's not the "real" South, but they were thoroughly nice chaps.

E D E N (author)Kiteman2010-03-11

 hahahaha xD

codongolev (author)crapflinger2010-03-16

I'd think cops would be thankful. people are slowing down.

thefarce (author)2010-05-06

 Oh, and for the record, the following is from vampyredh's profile: "I am a retired tattoo artist... my main source of income is a custom car audio business that I own..."

A lawyer, huh?

thefarce (author)2010-05-06

 vampyredh: First and foremost, if you were actually an attorney you'd know better than to go around on the Internet saying "Look at me, I'm an attorney".
However, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're just a poor attorney.
Without a uniform or a direct claim (such as: "I am a police officer") a charge of impersonation would be flimsy at best.
That said, if an officer does catch you doing this on public property, they're likely to at least warn you against doing it, and/or find some other, (possibly even unrelated) law you're breaking and ticket you for that.  
So be careful where and how you do this.

IANAL but I've studied law and worked/volunteered in law enforcement and security for several years.

jpdenomy (author)2010-03-20

Not to be a Debby downer, but Pretty sure impersonating an Officer is illegal.

since when did it become illegal for a citizen to take radar of people going through there neighborhoods, maybe your trying to put together a case for lowering speed limits, or showing how the police need to do more inforcement in an area because people arent respecting the posted speed limit anybody should have a right to use a radar gun, its okay to buy full automatic weapons and stock pile arms, but not okay to use a radar gun? Since when is using a radar gun impersonating an officer, scientist use radar guns as well, maybe im impersonating a scientist, or just a concerned citizen. A real lawyer should know how to poke holes in a prosecutions accusations. Rule one you have to prove a persons intent, people using this may or may not be trying to impersonate an office or maybe there intent is in trying to scare people speeding through there neighborhood where there kids are play.

DJ Radio (author)2010-03-10

Over here, if you were to pull soemthing like this, people would just say "What the hell are you doing with that hair dryer?"

hoihoi151 (author)DJ Radio2010-03-30

 yeh ur like 14. so i wouldnt say anything until u know how to drive.

DJ Radio (author)hoihoi1512010-03-31

Too bad I'm not you.  And too bad I'm gonna say it regardless of my lack of driving education.  How the hell do you know how old I am anyway?  I've never seen you around the site before.  The only way you could find out was to stalk my forum topics.  Nice try, Pedobear.

hoihoi151 (author)DJ Radio2010-03-31

 it says it on ur profile genius

JenStar4V (author)2010-03-21

I just submitted another instructable.  Contest says you can enter multiple times.

grimdaddy (author)2010-03-21

I am more interested in the picture of the Crown Vic.  Where did you get the ground effects for it?  Sweet ride indeed!!

ac1D (author)2010-03-13

This remind me the fun I had with my cheap police pack on my impala :D

Kiteman (author)2010-03-11

Don't use a van (in the UK, speed camera vans must be highly visibly marked).

Just wear a (yellow) hi-viz jacket or vest and stand beside the road with hair-dryer and clip-board.

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