December 28, 2020 | VL | Blog

Why you should have a dash cam in 2021

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Dash Cam in Car with rain on windscreen

As Britain’s roads are becoming busier and filled with more car traffic than ever, people are starting to think more about their safety on the roads and how they can protect themselves and their cars.

A solution: dash cams!

We recommend that all Locksmiths look into dash cams as they offer a range of different benefits that not only help to secure your vehicle when you’re on the road, but to also help you to feel more at ease.

What is a dash cam?

A dash cam or dashboard camera is a small video camera that is mounted on the dashboard or windscreen of a vehicle that is used to continually record the surrounding road traffic. A survey conducted by Which? found that more than 1 in 4 (27%) motorists currently use a dash cam, with 72% of those dash cams drivers believing that all drivers should follow suit.

The different types of dash cams

Front view

This dash cam will record everything in front of you. These are the most common as they are often the cheapest cameras.

Front and back view

These dash cams will record what is happening both in front and behind your car. Although more expensive they can be more useful in the case of an accident as most accidents involve rear-end collisions at low speed so the extra cost might be worth it so that you have evidence of the crash.

Cabin view

This is a camera that faces inward to provide an internal view of what’s happening inside your car. These are particularly useful in taxi and car services to capture any anti-social passenger behaviour.

Why should I install a dash cam?

Dash cams can be a reassuring presence for those on the road as they can provide valuable and accurate recording of other motorist’s road conduct and any events as they transpire.  They can be particularly useful in the event of a collision to determine who might be a fault, as this is often something that drivers worry about. When you have a collision it’s sometimes hard to determine who, if anyone is at fault which then makes it harder should you need to claim on your insurance.

You can also get some dash cameras that have a parking mode, which will start recording when parked if an impact is detected. This can be useful if someone was to hit your car whilst parked and doesn’t leave a note, being able to watch back footage will allow you to better determine what has happened and who might be responsible.

Benefits of a dash cam

  • A dash cam can reduce insurance premiums

Some insurance policy providers will offer lower premiums if you have a dash cam installed in your car. This is because video footage can be used as an independent witness in disputes to establish liability of fault and potentially eliminate a “crash for cash” incident. A crash for cash incident is when another driver brakes in front of you to cause a collision with the intention to make a claim against you. With a dash cam you could have an accurate recording that shows that the person in front braked for no apparent reason and thus prove the accident might not have been your fault.

  • A dash cam can prove you weren’t at fault from an accident

Unfortunately, most road collisions are not straight forward where if there is doubt about fault it can become one word against another. This is where dash cam footage comes in, a video can be used to settle disputes meaning that if the other party is found at fault then you may not have to pay your excess or be reimbursed if you have already paid.  As an added benefit this evidence could also help you to retain your no claims discount which would also be another factor to help you reduce insurance premiums.

  • Can improve driving

Although this is not a guarantee it has been suggested that the awareness that your own personal conduct is being recording that you are more conscious of your actions and therefore a potentially safer driver.

What are the potential downsides of a dash cam?

When one dash cam is placed it is normally recording the front view from the car so can only offer a “one sided view” of traffic. This means that in the unfortunate case you were to have an accident your dash cam may not capture the incident should it happen out of view.

Another drawback of a dash cam is that like other electrical devices it can draw the attention of thieves, meaning that to decrease the chance of a break in best practise would be to disconnect and reconnect the device every time you leave the vehicle.

How to install a dash cam

Although they are very useful devices, dash cams have very strict rules on how they can be installed and if are not done properly can leave you with a hefty fine and 3 points on your licence.

A dash cam must be placed so that they don’t obstruct the driver’s vision; if they are found to be in a position that obstructs vision it could land you with a on the spot £100 fine and in worst case scenario if it goes to court could land you with a £1000 fine and 3 points on your licence.

Where is the best place to install a dash cam?

The best place to fit a dash cam is behind the rear-view mirror so it is in the centre of your windscreen maximising what is captured but it is also out of your line of sight. This ensures that it captures both lanes of the road ahead but also that you will not be penalised for improper placement. It might be tempting when installing your dash cam to stick it where you think it works best or is convenient for you, we don’t suggest this.  The safest place for a dash cam will be out of your eyesight and somewhere we it would be difficult for you to engage with whilst driving. The same laws that apply to phones, navigation systems and electronics apply to dash cams and can carry the same penalties.