What is a Dash Cam?
A dash cam, also known as a dashboard camera, is a video camera that is mounted on your vehicle's dashboard or windshield. This video camera is used to continuously record what is happening on the road in front of your vehicle and, in some cases, inside and behind your vehicle.
The legalities of a dash cam are different in each state in terms of where they can be mounted and whether you can record video only or if you can record video and audio. So make sure you learn what's legal in your state before making a purchase. This will help you buy what you need to get your new dash cam up and running—legally. Knowing this will also help keep you from needing to make an additional parts purchase or have to return your dash cam because you didn't know the law.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Dash Cam?
There are many benefits of having a dash cam aside from being able to record your travels to fun and exciting places. A dash cam can actually provide you with a layer of protection while on and, in some cases, off the road—here's how.
Proof of Fault
A dash cam will start recording as soon as you start your vehicle. Therefore, if your vehicle is ever in an accident, you will have real-time, evidence-based facts to prove who is at fault. This will save you from a he-said, she-said situation in which, if wrongly accused, could end up costing you a lot of money, or worse.
Capturing and Reporting Reckless Drivers
Reckless drivers come in many forms which could include rowdy teenagers, drunk or otherwise impaired drivers, driving at excessive speeds, weaving in and out of traffic, drifting between lanes, road rage, street racing, tailgating, etc. Whatever the case may be, if you see another driver who is driving recklessly and putting other drivers in danger, you should immediately report them to the authorities before someone gets hurt. Most states have some method of reporting such drivers. You can contact the authorities, use a dedicated mobile app such as Bad Drivers, or submit the information to a national database such as reportdangerousdriving.com.
If you see something, say something…doing so might just save a life.
You probably already know how prevalent fraud is, especially when it comes to vehicle accidents. This is just one more reason buying a dash cam might be the best thing you have ever done.
Insurance fraud is when someone purposely causes an accident, so they can blame the other party and collect an insurance check or extort money from the victim. This type of fraud is very common and the perpetrators' frequently look for high-end vehicles to target.
This is just one piece of the puzzle. The other facet of this type of fraud is for the perpetrator to fake an injury to collect the insurance money. Injuries such as whiplash and back pain can be hard to prove as fake injury's and that's why these are the most commonly used stories in this type of incident. Therefore, it pays to protect yourself with a dash cam.
Dash cams are a great way to monitor your kids driving habits and to see where they go and who they hang out with. This will help you identify areas that need to be addressed…or not.
Vehicle Use Monitoring
A dash cam is also great for monitoring your vehicle in cases such as lending your car to a friend, when it's at the repair shop, businesses who want to track and monitor their employees use of company vehicles, and any other scenario where your vehicle is not in your possession.
Types of Dash Cams
Dash cams come in different options from which you can choose.
- Basic Dash Cams. These don't contain many features and are either wired into your vehicle's electrical system or plugged into a cigarette lighter or 12V socket.
- Advanced Feature Dash Cams. This type of dash cam comes with more advanced features such as audio recording, speed sensors, accelerometers, and uninterruptible power supplies.
- Dual Camera Dash Cams. A dual camera dash cam is actually two cameras in one device with one facing the outside of the vehicle and one facing the inside of the vehicle.
- Remote Cams. These are mounted on the rear windshield of your vehicle to protect you from behind, whereas, a dash cam is mounted on your front windshield.
- Rear View Mirror Dash Cam. This is simply a dash cam that is small, discreet, and mounted to your rearview mirror.
List of the Best Dash Cam Brands
Here is a quick overview of the best dash cam brands.
The Garmin dash cam is compact and discreet. It attaches to your rearview mirror and is so small that most people won't even notice it. You just plug it in and start driving. The Garmin dash cam continually records and automatically saves your footage. Garmin offers a variety of different models that have different features such as voice controls, driver alerts, and more.
Cobra offers two types of dash cams which are a single view and a dual view (front facing and rear facing cameras) that automatically and continuously record during the day and at night. The Cobra dash cams are easy to mount, use super HD video, have an advanced driver alert system, extreme temperature protection, and more. They also offer a third dash cam that comes with a radar detection feature built-in.
The Owl dash cam offers more features than some others on the market. The Owl dash cams come with a LIVE View of your vehicle from your phone, instant video alerts and image notifications when your vehicle is parked, live operator assistance after a crash is detected, hands-free voice controls, no exposed cables, and more. The Owl cam can be installed in minutes without tools or adhesives. The Owl cam has many of the same features as you will find on your home security system.
The Pilot dash cam is a 1.5-inch LCD panel with 1080p video recording and is mounted on your windshield. It offers 120° viewing for broad ranges and comes with a variety of selectable photo resolutions. They also come with a 4GB micro SD card and support up to a 32GB micro SD card. It can also record video and sound with a date and time stamp has a night mode, and a video looping function. Additionally, it automatically turns on with your vehicle's ignition.
The BlackVue dash cams offer even more unique features than other dash cams on the market. BlackVue offers quite a few different dash cams from which you can choose, and they have some great features to go with them. The BlackVue dash cams come with a LIVE View option so you can monitor your vehicle in real-time, an emergency alarm that notifies you if something happens to your vehicle, GPS tracking, video backup to the cloud, two-way voice communication, remote video playback, and more. This dash cam also offers many of the same features you get with a home security system.