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The reasons for using a dash cam

Updated on May 11, 2015

What is a dash cam?

Dash cam's are devices that are becoming ever more popular year on year. Essentially, a dash cam is a video camera that is mounted within your car for the purposes of filming your journey. There's numerous reasons why you should do this which will be covered below. However, before these are listed it's important to give a recommendation of which dash cam is used.

Personally, I've been using the entry level GoPro Hero 2014 as a means of recording car footage. This is due to its compact design, coupled with its low light mode and excellent video quality whether it's filmed in 720p or 1080p. An example of the video quality has been shown in a YouTube video below, as well as a link to buy the product direct from Amazon. Amazon are currently cheaper than the GoPro site, so you're best off buying from Amazon. Essentially though, when you're buying a dash cam you're going to want to be able to record in low light conditions, as well as being able to read the registration plate of the car in front at a consistently high quality should you ever need to use the footage for reasons mentioned below. You'll also be wanting ease of use. These criteria are fully met by the GoPro Hero 2014.

With that out of the way, let's get onto the reasons for using a dash cam. If you're in the UK, this link will take you to the Amazon UK site for the GoPro.

Protection against scam insurance claims

A worry recent trend is the increase in insurance fraud by members of small time gangs as well as full blown organised crime operations. There are three main scams currently going on, with the initial one being an pretty old one. However in the case of all three scams, the drivers are actively going out with the intention to cause damage and thus defraud you of money.

1) This involves someone running right into the back of you stating that you slammed on the brakes and that it was you that was at fault. The thing with this is that it's actually pretty hard to prove that you didn't do this and thus your insurance premium goes through the roof. However, with the dash cam, it's easy to see that you've came to a stop, and if there is a delay between you stopping and being hit then it's clear that you're not in the wrong. This can also extend away from the scam in that it should protect you from genuine drivers that simply weren't paying attention and would otherwise say it was your fault to prevent them having to claim their insurance.

2) The second scam is a reversal on the last. This involves a car stopping in front of you and then reversing into you at speed. The intention here is that the blame will be shifted onto you since the criminals believe that they will be the believed party since it would be pretty strange for a car to reverse down a road at speed when there's traffic between them. The gang then earns a nice sum for this

3) The final scam on this list actually involves the brake lights on the car being disconnected. Normally the scam cars are rigged up in a special way so that the lights can be disabled at the push of a button. At some point they'll turn off the lights and then slam on the brakes giving you no time at all to react. This is a form of a confidence scam in that you're tricked into thinking that you simply weren't paying attention and that the lights had come on. There is normally a passenger in this car that will reactive the light after the incident has occurred.

This will further cement the thought that you are to blame since they will most usually go out their way to show that the lights are working and that you are fault. This third scam in particular normally results in people handing over cash to avoid an insurance claim which the gangs actually prefer.

However, when you've got a way of recording all three scenarios it's much easier to show that you're innocent since you have video evidence of what happened. This in turn will save you money from this type of fraud.


It makes you a safer driver and saves you money

Everyone will attest that they're a safe driver and that they always drive in a proper manner however there's always been times that we might not exactly follow the road rules.

However since the journey is being recorded it means that you can't take any chances since you don't know if the footage will ever be used. If it was the fact that you're used to speeding, recording the footage would prevent you from doing this sine this would be able to be detected in the footage.

Similarly, it makes you less likely to run red lights since again the footage could actually be used against you in a court of law. Due to these two reasons, it's actually making some insurance companies lower their premiums (especially for new drivers). Much like the black box technology that can track the cars speed etc, insurers also believe that recording your footage makes you a safer driver and thus less likely to do anything stupid. You'll then be less likely to make a claim in turn meaning they don't need to pay out for any repair work to be done. This will then save you money since your no claims bonus will build over the years.


It could stop you from doing jail time

Imagine the scenario that it's late at night and you're driving on a pretty much road. Now, since it's so quiet if you had to hit a cyclist or pedestrian then it would be your word against theirs. Normally the law will side on the injured party and in the UK at least, you can now due time in jail if you cause serious damage to someone (and rightly so).

However, what if it wasn't your fault? It may be that pedestrian runs right out in front of you and you literally have no time to stop. By having this on video it instantly saves you legal fees and time with the police since you are being absolved of any wrong doing.

Similarly, cyclists can be notoriously bad on the roads. As a case in point a cyclist last night during a busy time decided to leave the pavement and move onto the road. The cyclist didn't have any lights or protective equipment on and was also drunk judging by the way he was riding. His jerk from the pavement to the road was so sudden that the only thing I could do at that point to stop myself from hitting him was to hit the brakes and swerve into the other lane ever so marginally.

I only had a fraction to make sure the other lane was clear and apply the brakes, however if I didn't do this and someone ran into the back of me then I would have been at serious fault. Thankfully this was recorded and no one was injured, and I didn't end up with the car behind me running into my car.

By having that camera that it makes me feel safer on the road since otherwise it would be hard to prove that he wasn't always on the road and I simply hadn't been paying attention.

Summary

Dash cams really are a great investment and they can protect you from the above issues. Remember that a car is a weapon, and anything can and will happen out on the roads. By using a dash cam you can make sure that you're protected from any claims that may be wrongly made against you.

Just make sure that you choose a camera that performs well in the dark and that you have enough charge in the battery and enough space on the SD card before you set off on your journey!

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