Drivers are usually pretty fussy about what goes on their dashboard. Forget putting your feet up on the dash or storing your roadtrip snacks. Sometimes it’s just that they love a clean and tidy car, but mostly it’s because of safety concerns. A dash cam is the one thing that can be safely put on the dashboard, though.
Dash cams are becoming more and more popular with drivers these days. But why?
What’s a dash cam anyway?
Cars are increasingly fitted as a matter of course with devices that enhance the driving experience. You can get a mount for your smartphone, use your in-car GPS, or have your car help you park. If you’re not taking full advantage of this, read our blog on simple car technology you should be using.
The dash cam is one that you should definitely be using. It an abbreviation of dashboard (video) camera. But dash cam is catchier, you’ve got to admit!
It’s a dedicated camera that records the road ahead of you. Some models even capture what’s behind you, or inside the car. In some countries, like Russia, almost every vehicle you see will have one. In other countries, it’s more of a nice-to-have.
Just remember that your dash cam isn’t for making viral videos. It’s not a selfie cam, or the start of your car karaoke career. And while it’s not meant as a sky-gazing tool, it’s caught some incredible footage before; like this amazing meteorite shower.
Why can a dash cam be useful?
A dash cam can be useful for recording road incidents. This makes it a good tool if there is any kind of legal dispute after a collision, road race incident, or theft. The other driver can’t contest things if it’s all there on video… Which means dash cams are handy when you make a comprehensive car insurance claim.
The dash cam can help to provide clarity in situations where it might not initially be clear who is at fault. For instance, showing someone reversing into your car behind and trying to claim damages as your fault.
It can even help to fight crime
In some countries, dash cams are used as a deterrent for criminal activities. This could include vandalism or aggression, break ins or attempts at car theft and hijacking, or even recording of law enforcement officers attempting to extort bribes out of road users.
If someone is planning to hijack or steal your car and realises that they might be identifiable by the footage, it could be enough of a deterrent to prevent them from following through.
How a dash cam can change your driving habits
Dash cams can be valuable in a claims or court process, but that’s not all. Although an extra pair of digital ‘eyes’ obviously doesn’t directly change the driver or car’s functioning it can still have a positive impact on your driving. And even the driving of others around you!
Why? Because recorded observation can encourage the driver to handle the road more responsibly. If your dash cam is visible, it can alert other road users too.
Is someone driving alongside you hooting or being aggressive? Keep your eyes on the road and point to the dash cam calmly. This can be an effective way of diffusing a situation. Why not read our other tips on effectively handling someone else’s road rage?
Being watched prompts everyone to put their best foot forward and avoid negative consequences.
Dash cam DOs and DON’Ts
It can be confusing to know how far to go when buying a dash cam. Here are a few ticks and crosses to follow.
- Pick a camera with the best quality footage you can afford within your budget.
- Check if it works only while the car is moving, or while it’s stationary too. You’ll want it to record if someone collides with you when you’re parked or stopped at a light.
- Consider pairing it with a GPS tracker or buying one that comes with GPS. This can help to verify your footage and/or support car insurance claims or court processes by providing information on your location, speed and moves at the time.
- Fix it anywhere on your dashboard that obstructs your view of the road.
- Let the SD card fill up if you need to keep footage. Some SD cards automatically overwrite older footage once they are full. Back up regularly, but especially after any incident or accident
- Overlook extras like a G-shock sensor. These add-ons can amplify the quality of footage and help to verify the direction of the impact, for example.
Can you use a dash cam for car insurance claims?
Absolutely. You can submit footage to support your car insurance claim. Any supporting evidence can be helpful when it comes to claims resolutions.
If you’re in the market for insurance as well as a dash cam, have a look at our comprehensive car insurance offering.
Dash cams – over to you
Are you a dash cam user? Let us know why or why not in the comments.