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In Car Security Crash Camera Reviews
With constant emerging incidents in the media where rogue drivers are deliberately causing accidents just to claim on insurance, the need to have a dashboard camera today is a must. Dash cams (Black box) are a legal solution to protect you against the reckless driving of other motorists.
My name is David Conway, and I have started this site up to review and compare dashboard cameras on the market today.
What Is A Dashboard Cam?
A dashboard cam system is a small camera that sits on or above your vehicle dashboard and records your journey as you drive. During your journey, if there was an accident, the camera would have recorded everything that’s happened. This video can then be used in court to settle disputes and above all, if someone was to maliciously cause the accident to claim (such as the “crash for cash” incidents you may have heard about!); you will not end up out-of-pocket or lose your no-claims.
The car camera DVR units are no larger than a typical GPS navigation system which usually attaches to your windscreen via a suction holder. To the outside world it looks no different than a GPS navigation. You can actually get an in-car video camera with a GPS overlay. These record your journey as well as mapping geographical co-ordinates as well as monitor your speed via GPS. For full security on your journey, it is recommended to have a car video camera giving you front and rear monitoring. This safeguards you against vehicles in front and behind you.
Cars With Cameras Will Save On Insurance
With the amount of fraudulent claims increasing and, in turn, costing innocent drivers a fair sum of money; dash cams will protect you against this. As a result of these false claims increasing in the UK, according to market research; dashcam sales has increased by 918% over the last 12 months (over 2014). Read more about that here.
Dash Cam Driver Footage Use In Court.
If you are so unlucky as to have an accident with a silly, wreck-less driver on the road who doesn’t obey the road rules or values his own life, let alone the lives of other drivers; then a dashcam will be your friend to help the authorities take this person off the road.
Your camera can capture license plates as well as the way they drive to help the courts prosecute. Even if there is no accident but your camera films this person driving recklessly, then you (and the camera) can bear witness in court to put this person away. If its not you they are unfortunate to hit today; it could be you tomorrow!
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Car Video Camera System Do Not Need To Be Expensive!
Car dashcams are affordable, although you can opt for some of the high end models giving you many more features that your basic cam. The basic models will still come with features such as HD recording, loop recording, G-sensors and a decent angle lens. You can get this E-prance model for around £50.00 or at a higher spec, The Mio Mivue 538 Deluxe for just over a £100 (at the time of this writing), it even comes with night vision – just no GPS location tracking. Based on the Amazon reviews it seems like a very good buy. It does what it says on the tin. Nothing less, nothing more.
Swift cover have started, in late 2014, to offer a 10% discount for drivers who use a dash cam and a 12.5% discount when using a Nextbase dash cam (a good model to go with is the Nextbase 402G). Read more about that here. More and more insurance companies are now offering these discounts because it safeguards them against claims on accident disputes, and rightly so when false claims are on the increase!
What Features To Look For In A Dash Cam?
Below are some of the features explained in dash cams. I have separated them into two lists, the essential features and the supplemental ones.
The Essential Features.
HD Quality Video Recording.
The most important part of the dash cam is to make sure the video quality is good. There’s no need to get ultra HD, but as long as it is good enough that you can read license plates clearly and there is no motion blur, you would be fine. Not being able to see license plates clearly does defy the point in having a dash cam in the first place.
2304×1296 (1296p) is the best quality resolution you will get in a dash cam which is more than adequate. The standard high resolution is 1080p, or 1920×1080 – you will find there are a lot of dash cams which are 1080p. 1080p is what you should be aiming for. 720p is the next best thing, again, it will give you a very clear video output. You will have no trouble finding a good quality 1080p HD quality dash cam for under £100.00. For under £50.00; you will certainly find a good cam in 720p quality – even if you are on a budget; you will still be able to get decent picture quality.
Date & Time Stamp.
I would say this feature is a must-have if you are looking to invest in a dash cam to help against fraudulent claims. The date/time stamp can be used in evidence concerning a given incident.
Basically a change in the gravity force. Most decent dash cams have this feature, when the camera senses a sudden impact, it knows there has been an accident and it will lock and save the footage.
Loop recording does what it sounds like. It records video filling the memory card. Once filled, it then proceeds to overwrite the oldest footage. If you needed any footage, 9 times out of 10, it would be the newest that you would need first. What you do not want is the dash cam to stop recording when it has filled up the memory card. In the event of an impact, the G-Sensor will lock the files leading to the impact so they are not overwritten by the loop function. Not al dash cams have a G-Sensor (or loop recording).
As long as you have the above features, you have got decent and functional dash cam.
The Supplemental Features.
Driving at night time, by nature, reduces our vision as the natural light is no longer present. We rely on artificial light which can cause beams and glares in our vision. Cameras also react in a similar way. Low quality dash cam lenses will show light glares from street lights, head lights, break lights, even license plates. For a camera to not catch a license plate clearly, I see, as a major flaw. What use is a dash cam if it cannot capture one of the most important pieces of information in the event of an accident?!
Even though most of the roads are lit well, and you have your headlights on; the lower quality models will glare off the license plates, blurring them. If you do plan to drive at night, then be sure to invest in a dash cam with good night vision. This will capture night time driving perfectly.
Integrate geographic location and current speeds into your video recording, to further safeguard you against blame for accidents. This is a great feature for the more premium dash cams but as with anything else, it will mean a more bulky cam and/or a separate GPS unit.
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The dash cams with this feature will be presented with a Parking Mode option when they stop and park. If you activate this function, your dash cam will then act as an in car cctv. Nearby activity will be sensed by the dash cam which will only then start recording the next 10-20 seconds. In order for the dash cam to do this, it needs to be hard-wired to the vehicle.
With this feature, you do need to have the camera facing out through the windscreen in which case it is exposed to the outside world and shows that you have a camera which, of course invites unwanted guests to your car. The camera could be a reason for a thief to break in to your car and take the camera (along with anything else they may find). Some people are for the idea, I myself, am still undecided as I think this invites trouble. If you parked in a car park where there is CCTV then your car is protected anyway and you can use the dash cam for further protection. If not, I would not risk it!
Auto Power Off.
With the auto on/off function, your dash cam will start recording when you start the car and it will turn off when you turn the car off (unless you have parking mode). This conserves the battery. Also with some dash cams, if they detect that the car battery is low, they will alert you and/or switch themselves off.
Lock File Button.
This is like a “bookmark’ button. It is a quick button you can press to save the current file for later reference. It will flag up amongst your other files for quick access. Most dash cams have this feature anyway, but the better models will have a button on the viewing screen for quick user access.
While not all dash cams have a screen, it is nice to have so you can see what you are recording while you’re driving. It is nice to have instant feedback, at the same time not imperative (and can arguably be a distraction). Dash cam screens are typically between 2-3” depending on which model you go for.
Rear Dash Cams.
These can be linked together with your front facing cam or they can be independent. They capture the view from the rear incase anyone was to purposely hit the back of your car. Many people have stated that two separate cameras are better than 1 set linked. I would personally go for 2 independent cameras rather than 1 premium kit consisting of both front and rear.
The other advantage of having a rear cam in action is going back to the Parking Mode. With a rear cam as well as a front cam, you are able to cover both the front and the rear security of your parked car. Click here for the best front and rear dual dashcam.
Why Did I Start This Site?
The reason for me starting this site is to raise awareness for the good drivers on the roads. Those of us who stick to the speed limits and respect the roads. I was involved in an accident in 2013 where I was driving on a dual carriage way in my town one morning at around 45 miles per hour as there was some light traffic. All of a sudden the car in front of me slammed his breaks without any warning. I slammed my breaks as soon as I saw, but at this speed and without any warning of stopping, my car crashed into the back of his car.
I was enraged as I knew he did this on purpose, but I was still humane and got out of my car to ask to see how this other driver was and to make sure he wasn’t hurt in anyway. This guy who must was in his mid twenties driving an old worn out Nissan Micra, came out of his car in a very foul mood. He was shouting and swearing and basically causing a scene. I asked him to calm down, whilst calming my own rage. He said he wanted my insurance details and proceeded to note down my license plate – which of course I had no issues with.
I asked him why did he break all of a sudden, when he had a clear several hundred yards in front of him. He said he he slowed down and I crashed into him!? This was it. From this point, I knew I was going to pay for this silly idiot’s little stunt! I tried to reason with him but it was no use. He did this on purpose and I foresaw he would get exactly what he wants legally. My car went into the back of his, there was no evidence to show that he slammed his breaks and I had to count my losses.
My situation was very similar to the one shown on this video. (Sorry for the bad language spoken on it – its not mine!)
Following this incident, I wanted to see if I had any chance of winning if I took this guy to court, and I did seek legal advice to see if I did have a leg to stand on (almost being certain that I didn’t!). I was told it was in my interest to settle out of court as I would lose anyway, but if I had gone to court, I would also be paying court costs on top of everything else. So I took it on the chin, counted my losses and moved on. I lose 10 years of no claims bonus, and paid an excess of £500.00. On top of this my car was so badly damaged, I was told it’s a wiser decision to buy a new one and scrap this one. This cost me a further £4000.00.
Reading up about similar incidents online, it was clear that there are people out there who “stage” accidents to make them look like they were not any fault of there’s and they have everything to gain. This will buy them a new car, and in some instances, the driver ends up paying in cash the “approximate cost” of repairs to the damaged car just so it doesn’t have to go through the insurers and forfeiting the no claims bonuses. This is a major cash machine!
At this point I started looking into dash cams. I wish I had looked into this sooner as if I had invested in one prior to this incident, I would have saved myself a fair amount of money but more importantly, justice would have prevailed and this clown (for lack of a better word!) would have been taught a good lesson. There would be one less of these rogue drivers that we would need to deal with!
This site is to firstly give you, the readers all the available options when looking for a dash cam, I will gather all the information you would need to make an informed decision. I will be looking at all aspects of the camera and giving my true opinion on it. Secondly to spread the word to as many people as I can to invest in a dash cam as they will protect you. It is one of the things you wish you wouldn’t need but if something unfortunate was to happen, you will be glad you have one!
If you haven’t yet bought a dash cam and are thinking of buying one, then I can’t urge you enough! It will be the best decision you make. For the cost of it, you will save a fair amount of money. If I had invested £50-£100 on a dash cam, I would have saved myself over £4,500.00 – that is quite a sum.
They can be so discreet that most of the time you will not even know it’s there. You simply stick it on your windscreen and plug it in before you start your car (most of them will do the rest). At the end of your journey, you can either leave it in there (as long it is fairly discreet, and you have it connected to sensors), or you simply take it out and with you. Either way, you get used to it.
If you have any questions, please contact me here.