Crashes often leave drivers and passengers dazed and confused.
Within a few seconds, what started as a trip to the corner dairy to get the milk and bread has turned into an insurance and liability nightmare.
Many of us have — or know someone who has — experienced the ‘‘he said, she said’’ game, with no witnesses to support either side.
It’s one word against another, but much of this hassle can be avoided with a decent dash cam. And, what’s more it’ll cost you less than a few tanks of fuel.
A huge range of dash cams are available but here are some of the best features to look out for.
Keep an eye out for its image-recording ability, as this will affect the quality of the videos. Some models are higher-quality than others but most good dash cams will record at 1080p or above, providing high quality images during the day and reasonable-quality images at night.
Although the possibility of a crash increases at night, it can still happen at any time of the day, so a decent dash cam will always have you covered. Also, be aware of a dash cam’s loop-recording ability. This is an essential part, as it ensures that the camera continues to record even when its storage has reached maximum capacity. It does this by simply overwriting the oldest data to allow continuous recording.
A G-sensor is another innovation to look out for. If you slam on your brakes to avoid a collision or you’re hit by another vehicle, the G sensor detects and automatically stores data, recording the impact. This is also stored separately and safely on the dash cam to make sure the data can’t be overwritten. Most good-quality dash cams have a G-sensor, but some will have a lock or emergency button in its absence to safely store footage and stop overwriting capabilities.
Some useful tech to be aware of is a dash cam’s parking mode. This allows a camera to continue to function even when the engine is off. Typically they use an internal battery, which will continue to record any impact detected by the G-sensor or a motion detector. Choosing a unit with a good battery backup or a battery discharge prevention system will help to maximise this feature. So if you get bumped in the carpark, now you can capture the culprit.
Lastly, look out for a date and time stamp feature on dash cams. This can be very useful after a crash as insurance companies often ask for such information, which can be easy to overlook after a traumatic accident.
Some fancier models will also have a GPS function alongside the date and time stamp, increasing the price of a dash cam quite dramatically. This may be of interest for those who really want to go all-out but it’s not really an essential feature.
Dash cams are relatively easy to fit as most come with a suction cap and are connected via the 12-volt power socket (the cigarette lighter).