Understand Traps, Road Hazards, & Confidence Levels
To get the most out of Trapster it's important to understand the different trap types and confidence levels that we use. Trapster has various icons and colors to denote different trap types, ie. red light cameras, and their associated confidence level, so that you can visually add and identify the right traps.
Given that Trapster's application is only as good as the data that our community members (that's you!) provide us, we think its important to dissect all the different trap types. At the end of the day we want you to feel confident that you're reporting the right trap to the right location, or getting the most accurate trap notifications.
Green Trap Icons: Traps with a green icon indicate that the particular trap has been reported, but it has not been verified. The green color indicates a low confidence level because it has yet to be voted on, or confirmed, by users. Once a user votes using the "Thumbs Up" icon (in mobile applications this is sometimes a Yes or No option) on the Trapster Trapmap, or via a mobile application, the color will change.
Yellow Trap Icons: Traps with a yellow icon indicate that the trap in question has been been verified by another user. Once another user takes an action to vote their approval on a green trap, the trap icon will change from green to yellow. When you see yellow traps in Trapster, you can have a little more confidence that these are accurate trap locations. Should you agree or disagree, make sure to add your vote by rating the trap yourself.
Red Trap Icons: This is the highest level of confidence because more users have voted to approve this particular trap. Traps with a red icon indicate the majority of Trapster users agree that this is a legitimate trap. Of course, your vote matters too, so whether you agree or disagree, make sure to add your vote.
Gray Trap Icons: Traps with a gray icon indicate the majority of Trapster users do not believe that this is an accurately reported trap. Since most of the votes are negative, gray traps have a very low confidence level, and though they remain in the system, you won't have to worry about receiving mobile notifications for them.
Live Police Trap
Live Police Traps indicate an active sighting of a police speed trap, or a police vehicle currently observing traffic. Examples of an accurately reported live police trap include police with a radar or laser trap set up, a motorcycle cop with a radar gun, an officer parked on a freeway or on-ramp, or a cruiser hiding near a stop sign to catch vehicles not coming to a complete stop. Live Police Traps automatically expire after one hour, unless other users confirm the live police trap with a positive vote. When reporting a Live Police Trap just remember that the trap should be a live speed trap, so it needs to be actually in progress, and potentially a threat to other drivers.
Known Enforcement Point
Do you know where the cops often camp out in your hometown, neighborhood, or metro area? You can use this knowledge and add Known Enforcement Point traps to the Trapmap on the web or from your phone to alert other drivers just passing through. We tend to see Trapster users reporting hiding spots in abundance, so before you add a new trap, check your surrounding area on the Trapmap for existing hiding spots. You can then add your vote of approval to the traps you believe are frequent hiding spots. Confirmed hiding spots (ie. Known Enforcement Point traps) remain in the system for 3 weeks from the last confirmation, unless they are voted down by a majority of users who disagree with the reported trap.
|This is a red light camera||This is not a red light camera|
We've all come to loathe red light cameras, you know those
cameras that sit alongside tricky stop lights and capture photos of
us as we accidentally (hopefully) run a red light. These are the
worst, because they typically come with a hefty fine and there's
very little we, as citizens, can do to dispute them.
But please be careful not to confuse regular traffic surveillance cameras, found at almost every intersection in metro areas, with actual photoenforcement red light cameras that issue violations. The ones that issue violations have a large box that is the flasher unit. Those are valid Trapster entries. The small ones that are about the size of a big zucchini are not valid Trapster entries.
Red Light Camera traps will remain on the Trapmap unless a majority of users vote their disapproval on any given trap. Of course we'd love it if you reported and voted on all red light cameras in your area (you can use Street View in the Trapmap to confirm). By doing so, you'll help other Trapster users avoid these expensive traffic tickets.
These fixed photo enforcement speed cameras are typically mounted on poles and monitor your speed as you cruise on the freeway, speedway, or highway. That's right, these little buggers are capturing your speed and will cost you a pricey ticket should you exceed the speeding limit by 10 mph or more.
Unfortunately, more and more speed cameras are being installed across the globe (right now they're popular in Europe but they're starting to show up stateside), so make sure to use Trapster to receive audio alerts, and return the favor by identifying and reporting these cameras when you see them on the road. Just like the rest of fixed traps, Speed Camera traps will remain on the Trapmap unless a majority of users vote their disapproval. Speed cameras are certainly not a friend to drivers, so we hope you'll take the time to add and vote on these devilish traps.
Mobile speed cameras are just like speed cameras, but they travel inside moving vans. These vans typically park on the side of the road to capture moving violations in photo form as motorists drive by. Though not as prevalent as other speed traps, mobile speed vans are becoming more common, with usage already in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.
So if you spot one of these sneaky vehicles trying to monitor speeding traffic on your commute, use the Trapmap and select Mobile Speed Camera as your trap type. Of course, you can also vote your approval or disapproval on existing traps in the system. Since these vans are mobile, and we work hard to keep information accurate and current, Mobile Speed Camera traps are live in the system for 2 hours after the last confirmed report.
Mobile Speed Camera Often Seen Here
Do you know where mobile speed camera vans often camp out in your hometown, neighborhood, or metro area? You can use this knowledge and add Mobile Speed Camera Often Seen Here (MSCOSH) traps to the Trapmap on the web or from your phone to alert other drivers.
We tend to see Trapster users reporting hiding spots in abundance, so before you add a new trap, check your surrounding area on the Trapmap for existing hiding spots. You can then add your vote of approval to the traps you believe are frequent hiding spots. Confirmed hiding spots (ie. MSCOSH traps) remain in the system for 3 weeks from the last confirmation, unless they are voted down by a majority of users who disagree with the reported trap.
Combo cameras are exactly what they claim to be: combined red light and speed photo enforcement cameras. It follows then that these combo cameras will nab you for both running a red light and speeding while doing so.
Trapster treats Combo Camera traps like most of the others, so reported traps will remain on the Trapmap unless voted down by other users. As always, you can add Combo Camera traps from the web or your mobile application, and vote your approval or disapproval as well.
Electric vehicles are becoming more common, but you still have to plan your route carefully to make sure you are always within range of the next EV charging station. These cars are great for the environment, but they won’t do you much good if you can’t confidently drive them when and where you want. Report the location of charging stations to help our earth stay green and other drivers on the road.
Road hazards cause congestion and/or traffic accidents, which is why it is critical to be alerted to them before hand. If you see objects or other obstructions on the road, use this trap to indicate where it is located. These hazards could include everything from a mattress in the middle of the road to a stalled car. Any of these impediments could cause serious problems, if other cars come on the too quickly. These traps expire one hour after the last confirmed vote of approval.
A reported school zone does not expire. It remains on the trapmap and represents an area on a street or near a school, or crosswalk that leads to a school, which is likely to be filled with pedestrians. School zones require a careful, slower approach to ensure everyone’s safety, which means that if you’re in a hurry it may be best to find a different route. Knowing where these areas are located before getting in your vehicle can save a lot of time and help you be aware of your surroundings.
Children at Play
If you see any children playing around areas like playgrounds, parks, schools, and cul-de-sacs, report it on Trapster using the Children at Play sign. It is critical to report these areas to help avoid unfortunate accidents. Children are not always paying attention to their surroundings, and they might run into the street right in front of your car. If you’ve seen children running and playing in the area, warn other drivers to slow down in this vicinity with this hazard. These traps expire two hours after the last confirmed vote of approval.
Car accidents happen every day. We’ve probably all seen one, and, unfortunately, have probably even been in one. Even a minor collision or accident can cause serious traffic and confusion which can pose a threat to other vehicles that might be driving a little too fast.
If you see a car accident, you can help other users by reporting it right away. These traps will expire two hours after the last confirmed vote of approval, but until then it will help drivers steer clear of the accident and reduce some of the congestion in the area. Keep your eyes open and report or confirm an accident as soon as you see it to help other drivers remain safe in their own vehicles.
Traffic jams can be caused by a number of things such as weather, construction, accidents, or when traffic demand is greater than the capacity of a road. Use this trap type to warn drivers of heavy traffic conditions, hopefully giving them enough time to take an alternative route if possible. This trap expires 1 hour after the last positive vote.
Construction zones and roadwork inevitably lead to traffic congestion and serious backup. It could be a temporary project that will be completed in a day, or a massive undertaking that lasts months. Either way, reporting and confirming these zones on Trapster will help you avoid unnecessary delays and keep you aware of any impending slowdowns.
There’s more to a construction zone than simple traffic congestion, though. Often these areas could be experiencing dangerous road conditions, either through obstructions or damage to the road, which can lead to accidents or vehicle damage. These traps will expire 24 hours after the last vote of approval.
Dangerous road conditions can lead to accidents, but these traps do not expire, so drivers will have access to important information before they hit any surprises. Dangerous curves are those areas of the road where either visibility is limited or the turn is sharp enough to require a care to slow down. It is important that these traps are reported as accurately as possible, and we have a team of trapologists here at Trapster to review all of these reports to insure they're accurate.
Some intersections are prone to accidents, and anyone who knows the area is always very careful when they approach one. However, other drivers may not be aware of the treacherous conditions that make dangerous intersections. These traps are static and will remain on the map until it is voted down my numerous users. Whether this is an intersection where visibility is impaired, or cars have a tendency to run a red light or stop sign, these signs can provide an invaluable warning to other drivers.
Smoke from a brush fire can cause a serious driving hazard. Unfortunately, even if the smoke isn’t causing a problem, there are often drivers who will slow down or make bad choices while they try to spot the fire in the distance. If you spot a brush fire while driving, make sure to report it using this trap. It will then remain in the system for 6 hours after the last vote of approval. This will hopefully provide enough time for the firefighters to contain the blaze and reduce the hazard.
A flooded road means that it is either impassable or likely damaged. You should not attempt to drive through a flooded road, because you could damage your vehicle or cause other accidents. Whether the road is simply sitting under still waters or it got washed out by a sudden flash flood, mark the road with this trap to warn other drivers away. There is simply no way for a driver to know what the ground is like under the water, and that can lead to real problems. These signs will expire 6 hours after the last positive vote.
Ice on Road
Icy road conditions can lead to serious traffic accidents which is why it is so important to alert other drivers about any hazards that result from the freezing temperatures. Ice can be particularly hard to spot while you’re driving, especially at night. It only takes a split second on the ice to spin a vehicle out of control and cause an accident. Let other Trapster users know about these dangerous conditions. These traps will stay in the system 4 hours after the last positive vote.
A narrow bridge is one that is just wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic, but even that will be with very little clearance. If two cars hit the bridge at the same time, it could be a very tight fit. This can be particularly dangerous for travelers who are new to the area and might drive too fast as they approach. You can let others know about narrow bridges ahead so they can react in time and avoid collisions and accidents.
Road closures can happen suddenly, whether it is for a construction project or other obstructions or hazards that must be removed. This can cause significant delays in your commute as you are rerouted through the city or onto a small, back road somewhere. If you know about any closed roads in advance, though, you can plan your trip accordingly and avoid the entire area. These traps will last up to 6 hours after the last positive vote.
Road kill can actually make a very dangerous road hazard. While the smaller creatures may not pose a serious threat, larger animals that have been killed on the road can damage cars, cause vehicles to swerve out of their lane, and send others out of control. If you see a dead animal on the road, whether it’s in the middle of the lane or off on the shoulder, you can let other users know about it. These road kill traps will expire 6 hours after the last positive vote.
Toll booths, toll roads, and other toll stations mean adding an extra fee onto your journey. On the other hand, some toll roads may also mean a faster, less congested trip from point A to point B. If you want to stay aware of where you will have to spend extra money on the road, though, these signs let users know about any upcoming tolls so you can plan your route accordingly. On the other hand, if you want to bypass some thick traffic, it can also let you know where these other options exist.
Creative Commons photos from Flickr: live police photo from gdoolittle, police hiding spot photo from unprose, red light camera photo from functoruser, speed camera photo from DG Jones, and police checkpoint photo from dietrich