Dashcams, car cameras, accident cameras, whatever you want to call them, these devices are big news. This site announced the new Garmin Eye Witness dashcam in February, and since then, it seems like everyone’s been jumping on the bandwagon. Auto Express has reviewed them, the Independent has written about them and they’re available everywhere from eBay and Amazon to Halfords and several specialist online retailers.
Type ‘dash cams UK’ into a search engine and you’ll be presented with over 600,000 results in less than a second. The cameras are available from around £30 on Amazon and eBay; many of the specialist retailers sell a bundle with all the bits you’ll need to install the machine yourself, including SD card, mounting brackets, charger, GPS and even wi-fi in some cases. The higher end models are the best for detailed HD footage and accurate number plate capture/driver identification. An average of £200 may sound a fair bit to pay, but it’s still cheaper than footing the bill for car repairs or paying an increased insurance premium because you can’t prove you were the innocent party in an accident or incident.
You should seriously consider having one, as they help the police and insurance companies establish blame in the case of an accident. They can also act as a deterrent to thieves – or at least capture their faces on film. Driving instructors use dual screen in-car cameras because they can record their pupils and point out mistakes later. Taxi drivers can have a running cam to guard against violence or vandalism in their cabs, and HGV companies using one will have a means of monitoring their drivers’ standards too. Companies claim they are effective against crash for cash scams, and some insurance firms will offer discounted premiums to those drivers who can prove they are using one.
If you commute on one of the UK’s notorious roads such as the M25, the M4, the M6 or the A14 on a regular basis, or if your job involves driving for a living, you should definitely invest in one of these devices. Anyone tackling city centre travel is likely to bear daily witness to the intimidating, bad or irresponsible behaviour of other road users. It would be interesting to know whether clear dash cam coverage of a cyclist riding in the dark without lights would still blame the driver in the case of a collision. Or whether the police would question verbal reports of dangerous driving if the claim was backed up with video footage from the witness’s in-car camera.
The technology packed into these devices is seriously top notch, with some models offering front and rear cams, or outward and inward facing screens. They act as break-in sensors when the car is stationary and some models can record sound as well as vision, even at night. GPS is inbuilt on many models, while some are linked to Google Maps as well, allowing pinpoint accuracy when reviewing the journey. It may seem as if your car is becoming an extension of your computer, but if it saves you money on insurance in the long run, that can only be a good thing.
Research for this article was carried out on CarCamWarehouse.com. Other retailers also stock a range of devices.