If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ll eventually stumble on popular dash cam videos.
Dash cams (or dashboard cameras) have skyrocketed in popularity thanks to sheer word of mouth. Videos of small accidents recorded on dash cams have millions of views on the net, thanks in large part to the accompanying stories of how the video was used to prove the recording driver’s innocence. This is why dash cams are widely considered a safety measure these days. But the question is, is one right for you?
If you ask me, dash cams are a fine idea. The only problem is, they’re not quite as simple as slapping it in your car and calling it a day.
Just to get it out of the way, you’re probably not going to find a car with a dash cam built in. While there are a select few cars with one preinstalled, I still wouldn’t consider this an important selling point. In other words, you’re going to need to buy a third party camera and install it in your vehicle.
Generally speaking, dash cams are tied to your car’s power. In other words, they’ll turn on and off in tandem with your vehicle. While this makes them easy to use, you’ll still have to do some regular maintenance on them. Depending on the type of camera you get, you may need to clean out the SD card every couple of weeks, especially if there’s any footage you want to keep. You’ll also need to clean the lens occasionally as well. While this falls very squarely into the category of “light” maintenance, it’s still a step more involved than set-it-and-forget-it.
Also, you need to make sure your dash cam is actually legal in the state your driving in. Though dash cams are permitted by most state laws, you can still get into hot water if you’re not careful. For example, if the camera is mounted too close to the driver, it could be considered an obstruction of vision. The camera is also always recording, including the audio inside the car. Though this probably won’t have any legal ramifications, it’s still something to keep in mind should you use one.
Of course, once all of that is taken care of, you’re left with the peace of mind that a dash cam provides. Just remember that a dash cam works both ways. While it’ll save you lots of headaches if you’re disputing an accident, it’ll do you no favors if you were at fault. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re a cautious driver who minds the rules of the road, but again, it’s something to keep in mind.
Even outside the context of accidents, dash cams are a great way to relive amazing moments or beautiful sunsets while you’re driving. Much like driving a car, dash cams simply require its user to know what it does and how to use it. Once you’ve crossed that bridge, feel free to record to your heart’s content.