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1 Dec 2023

What is a dash cam? Why you should invest in this handy gadget

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist

Most of us spend a good portion of our lives on the road, and being safe while we’re driving is becoming ever more important. Dash cams, short for dashboard cameras, have emerged as one of the most sought-after automotive accessories in recent years. 

These compact, unobtrusive devices have become indispensable for drivers around the world, offering a myriad of benefits that extend far beyond simple video recording. But if you’ve never heard of a dash cam, you might be wondering what they are, and whether they really are a handy gadget, or just another gimmick.

What are dash cams?

Before we dive into the many advantages of having a dash cam, it's crucial to understand what exactly these devices are and how they function.

A dash cam is a small, discreet camera typically mounted on the dashboard or windshield of a vehicle, facing forward. Its primary purpose is to continuously record video footage of the road ahead while you're driving. Dash cams come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from compact single-lens models to more advanced dual-lens setups that capture both the front and rear views. Some even have additional features like GPS tracking, Wi-Fi connectivity, and parking mode recording.

These cameras are designed to automatically start recording when you turn your vehicle's ignition on and stop when you turn it off. They typically store the recorded footage on a removable memory card, allowing you to review or save the videos when needed.

Why do you need a dash cam?

Dash cams are great little devices that fit discreetly in or on your car. They can give you peace of mind whilst you’re driving, as well as help you in a variety of other ways.

Evidence in accidents

One of the primary reasons people invest in dash cams is for the irrefutable evidence they provide in case of accidents. In the event of a collision or any other road-related incident, the dash cam's footage can serve as a crucial piece of evidence. It captures the entire scene in realtime, including the actions of all parties involved and the surrounding road conditions. 

This evidence can be invaluable when dealing with insurance claims, police reports, or legal disputes, as it helps establish the sequence of events and determine liability accurately.

Protection against fraud

Insurance fraud is a growing concern in many countries, with fraudsters staging accidents to claim compensation from innocent drivers. Dash cams act as a deterrent against such scams. If someone tries to commit insurance fraud by deliberately causing an accident and then blaming you, your dash cam footage can expose their fraudulent actions and protect you from unwarranted financial losses and legal troubles.

Improved driving behaviour

Knowing that your actions behind the wheel are being recorded can encourage safer and more responsible driving behaviour. It serves as a constant reminder to obey traffic laws, avoid aggressive driving, and maintain a defensive driving style. Over time, this can lead to reduced traffic violations, accidents, and ultimately, lower insurance premiums.

Documentation of road trips

For those who enjoy embarking on road trips and scenic drives, dash cams offer an excellent way to document your journeys. You can capture breathtaking landscapes, interesting encounters, and memorable moments along the way. Many dash cams have features like GPS tagging, which allows you to map out your route and relive your adventures through recorded videos.

Parking protection

Modern dash cams often include a parking mode feature that can monitor your vehicle even when it's parked and the engine is off. They use motion sensors or G-sensors to detect any unusual activity or impacts, such as someone hitting your parked car or attempting a break-in. The dash cam will automatically start recording when such events occur, providing crucial evidence for insurance claims or police investigations.

Preventing vandalism

Parking in public spaces can sometimes result in vandalism or intentional damage to your vehicle. A dash cam with parking mode can help deter potential vandals, as they are less likely to commit crimes when they know they're being recorded. In case an incident does occur, you'll have video evidence to identify the culprits and seek compensation for damages.

Monitoring young or inexperienced drivers

If you have teenage or inexperienced drivers in your household, a dash cam can be a useful tool for monitoring their driving habits. It allows you to review their driving performance, identify areas for improvement, and ensure they are following safe driving practices.

Capturing unforeseen events

Life is unpredictable, and you never know when you might witness or be involved in a unique or unexpected event on the road. Whether it's a meteor shower, a bizarre accident, or a rare wildlife sighting, having a dash cam ensures you won't miss capturing both the best and worst moments on the road.

Choosing the best dash cam in the UK

If you want to invest in a dash cam for your vehicle, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. 

Video quality

Video quality is paramount when it comes to dash cams. Look for a camera that offers high-resolution video recording, preferably at 1080p or higher, to ensure clear and detailed footage.

Low-light performance

Since accidents can happen at any time, including during nighttime or low-light conditions, opt for a dash cam with excellent low-light performance. Models with advanced sensors and night vision technology will provide better visibility in the dark.

Wide-angle lens

A wide-angle lens is essential for capturing a broader field of view, which can be especially useful for recording accidents and incidents that occur at the periphery of your vehicle.

GPS tracking

Dash cams with GPS tracking can log your vehicle's speed and location, making it easier to reconstruct events accurately and provide additional context to the recorded footage.

Parking mode

If you want parking protection, make sure the dash cam you choose has a reliable parking mode feature that can detect and record incidents while your vehicle is parked.

Storage capacity

Consider the storage capacity of the dash cam and whether it supports expandable memory cards. Larger memory cards or built-in storage will allow you to store more footage.

Wi-Fi connectivity

Wi-Fi-enabled dash cams allow you to easily transfer and view footage on your smartphone or tablet. This convenience can be valuable when sharing videos or reporting incidents to authorities.

Installation and mounting

Check if the dash cam is easy to install and comes with the necessary mounting accessories. Some models have adhesive mounts, while others use suction cups or adhesive tape.

Price and brand reputation

Set a budget for your dash cam purchase, but also consider the reputation and customer reviews of the brand and model you're interested in. Quality and reliability should not be compromised for a lower price.

Legal compliance

Be aware of local laws and regulations regarding the use of dash cams in your area. Some places may have restrictions on where and how you can mount and use them

Compare dash cam deals with SpotDif

Investing in a dash cam is a worthwhile investment to give you peace of mind while you’re driving. At SpotDif, we can help you decide which dash cam is the best one for you, and we’ll compare hundreds of deals to make sure you get the best price for your dash cam.

Compare dash cam providers, or get in touch with us today to get started.

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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