I had considered the reasons to buy a dash cam having read up on them in review sites and blogs. Eventually I bought a Nextbase InCarCam 402G Professional and now use it frequently. I’m pleased with the purchase and I can see the many advantages of using a dashboard camera.
The term ‘dashboard camera’ is a bit of a misnomer. Few if any of these devices are fitted to the dashboard of a vehicle. The vast majority of them are stuck to the inside of the windscreen using a suction pad. They should really be called ‘windscreen cameras’ or perhaps just ‘screen cams’. You can also get ones that are stuck to the rear windscreen where they record anything that might prove useful later in the event of, for example, a shunt by someone driving too close and too fast.
Helping The Police
A recent violent and fatal attack on a motorist after a minor collision in the village of Findon in West Sussex provoked widespread concern. The Police put out an appeal for witnesses and dash cam footage. This was the first time I had heard of the Police asking specifically for video evidence of this type, but I dare say it had been requested before and will soon become a common occurrence. The accounts by various witnesses of the same event can vary wildly, but video footage gives the Police something more substantial to review. Your camera may capture evidence that helps prosecute the guilty and exonerates the innocent.
Improving Your DrivingSome of these in-car cameras are capable of recording your own driving performance and providing feedback. They can also track your vehicle using GPS. All this information can be reviewed on the recording so that you can see not only the where and when of your journey, but also the speed at which your vehicle was traveling at any given point.
Even if you’re the only person who looks at these records it can help improve your driving by highlighting your speeding and general driving habits. What was the speed limit there? See how you applied the breaks a little late at that junction? Try it yourself a few times and you can set yourself targets for improvement.
Saving You Money
Your insurance company may give you a discount if you fit a dash cam. The fact that every journey is recorded empowers you to provide graphic evidence in the event of a claim. Your speed, the road conditions, the location, the actions of other motorists at the time of the incident are all there for them to see.
Speak to your insurance company before buying a dash cam and ask them if they offer a discount. Just like immobilisers and alarms they may have a list of recommended and approved models. The video footage will also help to prove who was at fault and to quash any false claims. If the accident was your fault then at least the claim will be for what actually happened and not some grossly exaggerated claim.
Making You MoneyIt’s quite possible that you might one day capture something spectacular, unusual, funny, or dramatic on your dash cam. Don’t forget that it records everything in its field of view and this includes a fair amount of the sky ahead, the roadsides, the pavements, buildings etc. Some of the most dramatic footage captured on dash cams includes plane crashes, meteorites, wildlife, near misses between vehicles etc. If you happen to capture anything like this then you can upload it to YouTube and other social media and monetise it by adding Google Adsense adverts or other types of advertising. If it becomes one of those viral videos then you may expect a proportional financial reward.
However, be careful about sharing video footage of people, incidents, and vehicle number plates. You may inadvertently contravene the Data Protection Act so do your research first. It may be possible to share it after editing out the number plates etc.
Protecting Your Asset
Any electronic devices stuck to the inside of the windscreen can attract the attention of car thieves. Some dash cams cost over £100 and they are easily sold on, so don’t put temptation in the way of the criminally minded. When your vehicle is unattended in areas where there is little other deterrence remove it from the windscreen and store it out of view.
Don’t forget to wipe of the suction mark on the windscreen as this alone can be sufficient reason for the thief to break in and search for a GPS device or a dash cam. If your vehicle is parked in a street at night perhaps it would be best to remove the cam altogether, leave your glove box open so thieves can see it is empty, and keep your camera in the house overnight.
* The Nextbase InCarCam 402G Professional comes recommended by the consumer review website Which?.