Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Dash Cam

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The dash cam is becomingly an increasingly popular accessory for UK motorists, but do you need one? Discover the advantages and disadvantages of the device below.

Advantages of a dash cam

Evidence

Having a dash cam in your car means supporting evidence at your fingertips – should you be involved in a car accident or witness one.

The devices are conveniently placed to observe the whole of the road ahead, therefore any accident which you happen to see or be involved in is going to be recorded.

Most authorities in the UK now accept dash cam footage as evidence. They can therefore be used to prevent future accidents by reporting reckless and dangerous drivers.

Road rage, drink driving and other dangerous behaviour behind the wheel are prevalent. However, a dashboard camera can help police and other law enforcement punish offenders before the worst-case scenario happens.

Reduced insurance premiums

On a more positive note, a dash cam can have cost-effective benefits for you as a driver. For example, lower insurance premiums.

Some insurers are recognising the preventative nature they have and offer a discount if you state that you have one fitted in your car.

Aviva pioneered this by including a free dashboard camera for drivers who take out its discounted black box insurance. AXA and Swiftcover do too. Both offer ‘dash cam insurance discount’ when you get a quote and prove that you have one installed on your car (Swiftcover specify that you must have a Nextbase make).

Encourage safe driving

The power a dash cam has to reward safe driving and punish dangerous habits behind the wheel naturally encourages drivers using one to make better decisions.

Going back to the Aviva example, the technology it uses for its car camera provides you with a score after each journey. The higher score is given to those drivers who show that they’re responsible when they take to road. In turn, premiums can be reduced by the insurance company the more times this happens.

Disadvantages of a dash cam

When you consider the above, it’s hard to point to any disadvantages of having a dash cam fitted to your car. However, here are a few to consider.

Distraction

While a dashboard camera can be a reliable and handy device for capturing evidence of road accidents, they can also be a method of distraction while you’re driving.

It would be rather ironic for a device which is intended to document accidents to cause one, but it isn’t unheard of.

Because they are positioned on either the windscreen or dashboard, their presence can create a blind spot while driving. Especially as most of them are rather hefty in size. It can be much like having phone or tablet in your car, minus the endless notifications.

Theft

Dash cams are for the most part positioned in plain sight of passers-by, which could encourage car theft. The 12v socket which powers them can be easily dismounted, too. While this is unlikely to happen, it’s something to be aware of if you’re thinking of getting one.

Potential to invade privacy

Finally, there’s a danger with dash cams that you may invade a person’s privacy.

This is particularly a risk with devices which have Wi-Fi, because the ability to upload footage to social media is at your fingertips. This is something to consider, especially if your footage contains vital evidence which should only be used in court proceedings.

How dash cams work

Dash cams – also known as ‘in-car cameras’ – are mounted either onto the dashboard or windscreen of your car. This is done through a 12v power source or by hardwiring the device to your car’s power supply. Once powered, it films in segments which load onto a micro SD card. When this is full, it records over the last clip. This way, a dashcam never runs out of memory.

You needn’t worry about losing clips, either. Thanks to a neat feature on most dashboard cameras, you can ‘lock’ video files. This prevents certain footage from being overwritten once the looped footage begins.

They can also take still photos of the road ahead, which are then available for you to download onto a computer or an app on your smartphone.

High-end options come with handy features such as GPS tracking and G-sensors, which save segments automatically when impact is detected. At the same time, they record your speed and location.

A feature which will please the more tech-savvy of you is Wi-Fi capabilities. This allows you to transfer the footage onto your smartphone using an app.

With some premium models of car Wifi connectivity is a standard feature, so you won’t have a need for a top of the range dashboard camera. The Audi RS 4 Avant has this in the form of Audi Connect, while the BMW 5 Series also have a hotspot feature which gives you access to the internet while you’re on the move.

Read more of our car tips, reviews and latest news over at the Moneyshake blog.

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