Dashboard cameras – or dash cams – have become more popular in recent years. In 2015, nine per cent of drivers had a dash cam, while last year more than one in four of us on the road had installed the device. The concept was first universally adopted by Russian motorists – and the UK should be next. The reason Russians embraced the technology was because they had fears of aggressive motorists, insurance fraud and even accidents not being investigated properly without the equipment.
Here, alongside Lookers Group, who offer car service plans, we take a look at why you should invest in a dashboard camera.
What is a dash cam?
While most of us are now aware of the term dash cam, some may still be unsure. Simply put, a dash cam is a camera than can be attached to your car’s interior and exterior via the car’s electrical system. They can also be hardwired and are designed for continuous recording.
First and foremost, they can be an added sense of security. After all, it can act in a similar way to a CCTV camera as it will constantly record what is going on when you’re in your vehicle. In July 2018, dash cam manufacturer, Nextbase, collaborated with regional constabularies in England and Wales to launch a national dash cam safety portal. This was set up to allow owners of any dash cam to easily and quickly submit any footage to relevant authorities to help with any cases.
As well as this, over a third of drivers who own a dash cam agree that one of the main reasons they installed the device was to feel safer when driving, according to research by Aviva.
Helps with insurance
Aviva’s research found that 17% of people with a dash cam bought the equipment due to not being able to prove their innocence in an accident. Also, 48% installed the recording device for peace of mind incase they were ever involved in a collision.
There are two main reasons how the camera can help you with your insurance. One is to prevent insurance fraud. This is because your insurance company will have the peace of mind that there won’t be any unforeseen legal battles. You can actually save up to 20% on your annual insurance by declaring you have a dash cam fitted. This can make a huge difference, especially for younger drivers who are likely to have a high premium. A survey by Nextbase found that the 41 top major insurance providers now all accept dash cam footage as proof of an incident.
If you have dash cam footage to prove you were not at fault in an incident then it makes it much easier to settle your claim quickly and in your favour. As well as being used for insurance purposes, dash cam footage can also be used as evidence in court should you ever need.
Enhances your driving
Many believe that by having a dash cam, drivers are more likely to travel safely. This is because they are aware that any error will be picked up. Distracted driving is a common problem on our roads. Huge efforts have been made to eradicate this, including not being allowed to be on your phone while driving. Laws have been put in place to hand out six penalty points and a £200 fine if you are found to be using a mobile phone while driving. The punishment is much more severe for those who have been driving for less than two years as they will also lose their licence.
Which dash cam should I purchase?
The dash cam market is saturated with choice. There is a range of products available at a variety of prices, meaning you’ll be able to find one to suit your personal needs. The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is a compact all-in-one with a two-inch LCD screen and integrated GPS. It provides a viewing angle of 122 degrees and is a well-priced all-rounder.
If live streaming is what you’re looking for, the Philips ADR820 with a CMOS sensor allows you to stream your footage to a phone app. It also has a rear camera that is available separately. Of course, there are cheaper models – and more expensive – available so it’s a case of finding out what is most important to you.
With technology continuing to advance, it’s expected that dash cams will soon be a feature of most new cars. By taking in the above points, it’s also clear to see why.