You may have noticed an increasing number of drivers with small cameras attached to their helmets or windscreens, but what are they? Known as dash cams, these compact devices record a driver’s journey, capturing footage and sometimes even sound, which can be useful in case any incidents occur.
Dash cams are essentially GoPros for your car, which can be attached to your dashboard, helmet or windscreen using a sticky mount or a suction cup. Once in position, they can be charged via your vehicle’s cigarette lighter or USB port, and be set to begin recording as soon as the car starts up, or even whenever there is any form of motion. They can then capture footage of the road and surroundings which is recorded onto a removable microSD card.
This footage can either be stored permanently, or if the camera is set on loop then it will record over old footage as soon as the memory card reaches capacity. This means that once they are installed, there is minimal upkeep required for them to do their job.
What Are They Used For?
We so often hear of people who are involved in road accidents where the guilty party refuses to take blame, leaving them with hefty repair bills that they have to pay for out of their own pocket. This is where dash cams really come onto their element, because they can provide vital evidence to prove who is at fault, allowing insurance companies to make informed decisions when it comes to a claim.
They are also useful if you are placed in a situation where you are wrongly blamed for an accident, as they can provide proof of your innocence and ensure that your word stands up as the truth.
What Variations Are There?
Dash cams can come either with only a front facing camera or with dual cameras which can face the road in front and behind of the car, or face the driver as well. Dual facing cameras allow further scope, giving a more rounded picture of the scene, which can be highly useful in case of a confrontation or accident.
What Are the Benefits?
Although in general installing a dash cam will not bag you discounts on your insurance policy, the footage they capture can be invaluable in proving who or what was at fault when it comes to a road accident. They can also act as a deterrent for those seeking to take out their road rage, as they are less likely to act up if they are aware that they’re being recorded.
In general, people install dash cams as a precautionary measure, to protect themselves in the event of a false insurance claim or disputable crash. Although the footage they can capture is not always comprehensive, it has certainly been known to help people out in such cases and can hold up as legal evidence if it is strong enough.
What Should You Look For?
Many aspects determine the quality of the footage that can be captured by a dash cam, but the main things to look out for are the picture quality – 1080p or full HD is the optimum – and the field of scope – 150 degrees is the minimum recommended for useful footage.
Is It Time to Buy One?
Whilst dash cams do not generally act to prevent accidents, they can provide valuable information as to how an incident occurred and have been known to aid drivers in winning court cases and insurance claims. They are not essential for every driver, but they are certainly useful for those who are regular road users as they can provide peace of mind and can act as a secondary form of insurance in the right situation.