Why you should buy a dash cam for your vehicle
With advances in modern technology and video recording equipment, buying a dash is now fairly reasonably priced and a growing trend throughout the UK. We look at how you may be able to benefit from buying one.
Why buy a Dash Cam?
If you’ve ever had an accident, especially one that was not your fault, you’ll know how frustrating it can be not being able to prove your innocence. In addition to this, it can be difficult to remember all the precise details of an incident, especially when asked for a full timeline of events. Accidents often happen suddenly, without warning, and can catch us off guard.
Nowadays, with the number of drivers having dash cams fitted, many of these accidents are now caught - in high quality - on camera for all to see.
Features to look out for
Some dash cams automatically start recording as soon as you turn the ignition on, and switch off when you turn it off. This is more useful than many might think, as if you have to do it manually it’s all too easy to forget to switch it on. And sod’s law says that’ll be the time you probably end up needing the footage!!
Usually only on the more expensive end of devices, but some may have a screen so you can review the footage there and then without having to put the SD card into a computer.
Wi-fi / Bluetooth
Similarly, if you buy a dash cam with Wi-fi or Bluetooth enabled then you may be able to transfer the footage straight from the camera to a smartphone wirelessly. This could be a great time saver as you won’t need to remove the SD card and plug it into a computer to download any footage. Just be sure you have enough room on your smartphone memory or this feature will be redundant! Remember, video takes up a lot of space, and most of our phones are usually clogged up with apps, photos and videos we’ve taken at home!
4K or Super HD
Most dash cams have a very high quality, usually at least HD, and some of the more expensive ones can film at Super HD or 4K. This means that there will be little doubt about who is to blame when it comes to a claim as the footage they produce is usually crystal clear.
Wide angle lens
Having a wide-angle lens will give a far broader picture than a standard camera and will show almost as much as what the driver behind the wheel can actually see. This could be invaluable in capturing a person or vehicle coming from the side, or to get a greater perspective at junctions, for example. The more information your camera can capture, the better.
More advanced dash cams are equipped with GPS. This means they can track location and speed. Bear in mind though, if it’s tracking speed and you happen to be over the limit if an incident happens, that data will also be sent to the insurers / police. If you’re a legal, safe driver who always obeys the speed limits then this, of course, won’t be an issue. I’m sure that’s you, so you can ignore that point.
A great feature that can detect G-forces inside the vehicle. If the dash cam senses you’ve been involved in an accident, it can automatically contact the police. Coupled with GPS location data this could be a life-saving feature.
With light being so low at night times, if your camera isn’t equipped with a night-vision mode you may not get the best picture. Night-vision mode cameras often have infrared technology giving excellent footage even when visibility to the naked eye is poor.
Speed Camera Alerts
Some GPS cameras also come with speed camera detection alerts - like you often get with some modern navigational systems. This can be a useful reminder if you’ve accidentally drifted over the limit as you approach a speed camera.
Cleverer dash cams will alert you when it’s too dark outside to get a good quality picture and advise you to turn your lights on. This could be useful for making sure that if there is an accident that the video recorded will be in the best possible quality.
A very simple feature based on a timer, this one will alert you when you’ve been driving continuously for a long period of time and should probably take a break. If you’re used to driving long distances, you’ll know you can very easily end up driving for longer than expected or planned in a single stint without realising how tired you’ve become. A nice and easy safety feature that could just end up saving your life.
Will dash cams reduce my insurance?
Possibly. Some insurance companies will offer reduced premiums if you have one fitted, and, in fact, some insurers make them compulsory for some of their policies. This way, if there is ever a claim, they will have more evidence. Always check with your insurer if they offer a discount if you have a dash cam, and check which dash cams they support.
Front-facing or rear-facing?
As per the name, dash cams are usually mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard facing forwards looking at the road ahead. Some may have both front and rear facing cameras in one unit, and some may come with a separate additional camera to be set up at the rear. This can be useful for recording rear-end shunts.
With front-facing cameras it is recommended to put them in a position that gives them the clearest view of the road ahead without blocking the view of the driver. This is often attached just to the passenger side of the rear-view mirror.
Are they complicated to install?
Usually not, no. Most dash cams will simply plug into the cigarette lighter or USB port and work “out-of-the-box”. However, always be sure to read the installation manual to make sure it is properly set up and that it is actually recording when you drive. Otherwise, you may end up not having anything to watch back if you were to have an accident. It could also invalidate your insurance if it was a requirement on your policy.
How much footage can a camera record?
Most dash cams record footage and save onto an SD card. As a general rule, 8 minutes of HD footage will fill a 1GB SD card. Having an SD card slot on your dash cam means you can put in as much memory as you think you may need. Usually, they simply record continuously and when the memory card gets full they simply start deleting the oldest footage to make space for the new footage. This is great as there’s no need to keep old footage of you simply driving to the shop to pick up groceries.
Will a dash cam change my driving style?
It can do, definitely. Many of us have been driving for many years - or even decades - and most won’t have had any driving training since our initial driving test. This means we will probably have developed some bad habits over the years. It’s perfectly natural.
Watching dash cam footage back can be very insightful, and give us a new perspective on our own driving. It may even prompt us to change the way we drive. For many, the sheer fact that there is a dash cam recording their every move is enough of a reason to review their driving style and be even more careful than they would otherwise.
How much do dash cams cost?
This will depend entirely on whether you want a cheap basic dash cam or a super advanced one with all the mod cons. Prices can start as low as £25 (or even cheaper for some really basic ones) up to several hundred pounds. Most will have HD quality footage, but in this day and age having 2K or 4K will give you a much superior picture quality.
A dash cam is a relatively inexpensive purchase that could easily save you what it cost (if not more) in the event of an insurance claim. With a myriad of safety features in many of the popular ones too, it is also a great companion that’ll keep you and your passengers safer than without one.
Whichever dash cam you opt for, always make sure that if it’s required by your insurance company that they accept the make and model of the one you have purchased.
Orskey offer a range of fantastic dash cams with some great features included for a relative low price. We would highly recommend their products as they are very popular in the UK, have excellent online reviews and are great value for money.
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