I bought my first dash camera about 6 years ago when they were still quite new and very expensive. When I parked my car I even took the precaution of removing the camera and locking it in the boot until I returned to the car. I was so paranoid that it would be stolen or make my car a target for a break in.
Now, dash cams are very affordable and some models are crammed with cool functionality and top specs. You can see some of my favourites on this page.
Which ever dash cam you end up buying, there are few tips I have learned over the last few years that I want to share with you.
– Buy quality
If you look on ebay or on market stalls at the weekend in your town, you will see lots of very cheap dash cams usually made in China, Taiwan or somewhere like that. These are unbranded cheaply made dash cams that work, but they don’t work for long. I bought one for £10 to fix to me rear window but it was massively inferior to the camera I bought years earlier for the windscreen. If you are unlucky and are involved in a collision, you want a dash cam that is reliable and will record the incident whether it is day or night, so avoid the cheap dash cams at all costs.
– Tell your Insurance Company
It never occurred to me to do this initially, but when I first came to renew my insurance policy, I noticed one of the questions on the renewal form was about nay modifications to the vehicle and one of those was a dash cam. So I contacted the insurance company, told them about the camera and they reduced my premium by a few pound. Insurance companies like dash cams because they make it much easier to prove or disprove fraudulent motor insurance claims. So, when you buy a dash cam, make sure you inform your car insurance company. If they don’t offer you any discount on your renewal premium, I suggest you look elsewhere for a better quote because many insurance companies WILL offer you a discount.
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– Use quality fixings
This may sound obvious, but make sure the suction fitting you use to fix the camera to your windscreen is good quality. Cheaper versions often become detached either during the night when the temperature falls which can sometimes set off your car alarm, or worse still, while you are driving which can cause a distraction and cause an accident. When you fix the suction cup to the window, thoroughly clean the area you will be fixing to. Allow it dry and they apply the cup. Press firmly then flick the lever to lock it into place. Before you do this test the position of the dash camera to avoid having to move the fixing.
– Consider camera position
The best place to locate the dash cam is close to your rear view mirror. It should not be a distraction, and it should not obstruct your view out the windscreen. Some models clip over the mirror, so this is less of an issue, but if you buy one of these devices, I recommend you turn off the image as it can be a distraction when you glance in your mirror.
– Set Collision Detect
Some cameras have a sensitivity setting that detects a rapid change in speed, so if you have a collision, or brake heavily, the camera will automatically save that recordign in a special folder that is not deleted. This is very important because most cameras record on a loop so they will over write previous footage when the space on the SD card runs out.
– Create Backups of Video
Depending on the memory capacity of the SD card, and the time you drive, it may take a day or a couple of weeks to fill the SD card up. So I suggest every week or so you extract the SD card and make a back up of the emergency footage that is stored due to Collision detect. I also keep a back up of footage where I witness traffic offences as you never know if that footage will be useful to the police or an insurance company.
– Share Your Videos
I have lost count of the number of traffic offences I have witnessed. I keep these video extracts on my PC and occasionally upload the footage to YouTube and in rare cases I will inform the police. However, the police have conditions about when and if they can use dash cam footage for evidence. You MUST be prepared to attend court if they decide to pursue a conviction. In most cases they use the footage just to see what happened at an incident.