Dashboard cameras aren’t just for police cars. More and more drivers are looking into purchasing them. They can be relatively inexpensive, and they can offer a variety of protections.
A dash cam is a small, windshield- or dashboard-mounted camera that accurately records in detail what’s taking place in front of (and sometimes behind) your car and may also audio record inside of the car. It attaches to the rearview mirror or with suction cups on the windshield. It is powered by a cigarette lighter cable or hardwired into the fuse box. It starts recording automatically when the car is started (though hardwired dash cams may record even when the car is off) and records on a continuous loop onto a micro SD card. Depending on price, dash cams may offer extra features including:
- Expandable built-in flash storage
- Remote data access from the privacy of your home using your smartphone, tablet, or computer
- Accelerometers that sense an impending crash and preserve footage taken right before it
- Built-in LCD screens that allow you to review footage without plugging into a computer
- Parking Mode which turns on when the car is hit while parked and may act as a deterrent against theft and vehicle damage when you’re away from your car
- Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that audibly warn you when you are veering into another lane, getting too close to a car in front of you, etc.
What exactly is the value of a dash cam?
- When you are in an accident and are not at fault, it can prove your innocence. Any recording leading up to the accident is saved, and files are automatically locked so they cannot be overwritten.
- If you are in a hit-and-run, it can record the make, model, and tags of the car that hit you.
- If you are the victim of a road rage incident, it can detail everything that happened.
- If your car is stolen and your dash cam has GPS, it can track your car and help you to recover it.
- If you are accused of a traffic violation that you believe was unwarranted, a dash cam can provide proof of what actually happened—especially if it is equipped with GPS that can stamp your footage with date, time and speed.
- If your car is vandalized and your dash cam has Parking Mode, it can provide an image of the criminal.
- If you’re a parent with a child driving your car and/or you loan your car out often to family or friends, it can be a great way to keep track of your most valuable assets (your car and your loved ones). Often you can watch what’s happening in real time remotely.
- It can help you if you are the victim of auto insurance fraud/staged accident scam.
- While not all insurance companies offer a discount if you have a dash cam in your car, some offer a discount of anywhere from 10% to 30%.
Insurance companies and police officers are more than welcoming of dash cam footage which eliminates the “he said/she said” blame game. When it’s just your word versus the other driver’s, you may take part of the blame, which could increase your insurance premiums—or worse.
As an added bonus, driving with a dash cam can make you a better driver. If you text and drive, use your phone without Bluetooth, or become easily distracted in other ways, a dash will record all of that. If you have GPS, it will record your speed and document your trips. But just as a dash cam will protect you when you are not at fault, it will reveal when you are! And don’t assume that you can simply delete the footage. Missing footage in an otherwise operational dash cam is a huge red flag to authorities. So, you have to decide if a dash cam is worth the cost, minimal upkeep and possible infringement on your privacy.
Here at Accident & Injury Chiropractic, we are always looking for ways to help drivers to be safer on the road. But if you ever are in an accident, head to an Accident & Injury clinic near you. We will take great care of you!