Dash Cams - explained
Dash cams are now considered one of the 'must have' items of consumer tech for drivers and for very good reason, but there are many drivers that have no experience of using or even heard of a dash cam. Here we will tell you what a dash cam is, and how this essential piece of in-car tech could be the best investment you ever make. We will explain how they work and what you should look out for before you rush out and buy the cheapest one you can find on the internet.
A dash cam (short for dash mounted camera) is a device that is secured internally to your vehicle windscreen to record footage whilst you are driving. It is also possible to record footage whilst the vehicle is parked if the camera supports a feature called park mode but more on this later!
In the event of an accident, the footage can be taken from the dash cam and reviewed. If required, this can then be submitted to your insurance company or the police if requested.
You may have witnessed an incident that has been captured by your dash cam which could be used as evidence.
Accident disputes are very common and often add unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation. A dash cam is capable of showing your precise location and speed as well as capturing audio before, during and after an accident or event has occurred. All of this essential data captured by the dash cam can prove without question who is at fault should an accident occur. In many cases, dash cam footage can be the sole reason for prompt insurance payouts. Over the recent years, many of our own customers have said just that!
The internet is now saturated with different styles and brands of dash cams which can be confusing, especially if this is a new product that you have little or no knowledge of. We have put together a beginners guide to help you to make the right decision based on your individual needs.
Things to look for and consider:
Positioning - This is the first thing that can often be overlooked and will determine what design type of camera you will most likely end up with. Due to the advancement in factory fitted tech on newer vehicles, not all dash cams are suitable for every model vehicle. Vehicles fitted with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistant Systems) often have large plastic covers that house this equipment behind the rear view mirror. This can make it difficult in some cases to find a suitable position for a dash cam. Luckily, there are many different shapes and sized dash cams that we supply so a solution is always available.
Image quality - nothing less than HD will do and there are some cameras available now that record upto 4k HD! The camera needs to be able to record essential details like vehicle registrations.
Camera mount - suction cup or adhesive mounting pad *STAY AWAY FROM SUCTION CUP MOUNTS* We do NOT recommend suction cup dash cams. There are some expensive high quality dash cams available on the internet that secure to the windscreen with a suction cup. From experience we have found the design of the suction cup brings the camera further away from the windscreen which is not good. This will reduce image quality by increasing windscreen glare and incorrect viewing angle. The nearer to the windscreen the actual camera lens is, the better. We have yet to see one single dash cam that is suction cup mounted that will not fall off the windscreen at some point. Not only is this irritating, it is also a huge safety issue. Essential footage could be missed if not securely mounted. The camera would need to be setup each time if falls of the screen. Most important, this could be the cause of an accident itself!
1 channel or 2 channel system - (front only or front and rear camera) It is always beneficial to have a 2 channel system. We appreciate cost is an issue but if your budget allows and you are having a dash cam professionally installed, we would always advise a 2 channel set up - front and rear cameras.
Lens filters - many high quality dash cams will include a Polarising Filter or one will be available as an additional option. This will help reduce glare and can increase image quality.
Memory capacity - more memory the better but this comes at a cost. All models that we recommend currently will accept SD cards up to 128gb.
Wi-fi connectivity - more convenient way to set up your dash cam, change settings and also transfer files.
LCD viewing screen - Often dash cameras with integrated screens are larger in size and can sometime be a distraction. Some people want a discreet 'fit and forget' dash cam. Others may want to be able to quickly adjust the screen or change camera setting manually. This is personal preference.
Parking mode - This allows the camera to record footage when the vehicle ignition is switched off. This could potentially pick up any damage caused to your vehicle whilst parked. A good quality camera will have adjustable settings that will prevent the vehicles battery from draining. In some cases, an additional parking mode power cable will be required.
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