Looking for a new car? A dash cam can help out should things go wrong. We’ll get more into that later, but for now, you should look at some second hand cars if you are in the market. Used prices are coming down and new car manufacturers are upping the APR on new car deals, so going used is looking like a canny way of buying at the moment.
What are dash cams
In essence, they’re small video cameras that record from your dashboard, hence the name. There are hundreds on the market, varying in price and quality, but broadly most record in short loops. This means drives are recorded over each other so you don’t have endless and pointless drives taking up valuable room.
Why have a dash cam?
Buying one can save your bacon in the event of an accident, assuming you’re not in the wrong. If someone drives down the wrong side of the motorway and bumps into you, you can prove it with a dash cam.
It’s also helpful to have recordings of other incidents not involving you, such as hit and runs. Police can use your footage to determine who’s at fault or in the event of a hit and run, try and track down the people involved.
What type should I buy?
You’re spoilt for choice. Generally, they range from £20-£500 and all come with various functions and gizmos. One approach to this question is to buy the best quality you can afford. You can even offset the purchase cost against your insurance, considering some insurers will give discounts to drivers who use one.
The resolution of the cheapest cameras will be pretty poor and your recordings will look very pixelated. We recommend buying one that supports 720p recordings. That way, should the worst happen, you’ll at least be able to see what’s going on.
Another question to ask yourself is how many cameras you want. Traditional setups involve one lens pointing out of your dash and into the road ahead. More sophisticated systems incorporate a rear-facing camera too. These cost more in price and are a bigger pain to install, though.
More expensive models also offer GPS tagging and G-force sensors. The former guarantees where the accident took place, while the latter helps investigators understand the severity of the impact.
A new and innovative feature on some dash cams is a parking mode. If you were to be hit while you were stationary, it quickly turns the camera on to try and capture anyone driving off.
Improving yourself as a driver
One often overlooked benefit of installing a dash cam is in reviewing your driving. We’re not suggesting an F1 style post-race engineers briefing complete with graphs, charts and braking times. But if you’ve ever finished your journey unsure of a decision you made, or you’re left scratching your head about why someone beeped you, reviewing your dash cam allows you to replay the moment and see if there was anything you missed the first time round.