Dash cams: 4 things you need to know
Kwik Fit | Tuesday 5th June 2018 9:35am
Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular among motorists. In fact, research has shown that in just four years, the number of drivers who own one has increased from one percent to 15 percent.
Chances are, you’ve probably seen dash cam footage on the news or on social media, and many insurance companies now use the recordings as evidence to settle disputes caused by road accidents or insurance claims. Not only can they be used to find out who was to blame for a collision, but they can also encourage people to drive more safely.
So, if you’re thinking about buying a dash cam and want to find out more information, here are four things you need to know.
1. There are different types available
Put simply, dash cams are cameras that are placed inside a car to capture live video recordings of journeys. However, there are three different types available. The cheapest versions are front view cameras, which are placed on the dashboard and used to record the road in front of the car. The downside of these models is that they don’t have the the ability to record anything behind the vehicle, so if you’re involved in a rear-end accident, they won’t be of much use.
As the name suggests, front and back view cameras have the benefit of being able to record both in front and behind the vehicle. These models are slightly more expensive than front view cameras, but spending a little bit more may be worthwhile if you want the added peace of mind that you’re covered at both ends of your vehicle.
There are also cabin view cameras, which record from a birds’ eye view inside the vehicle. These cameras are frequently used by taxi firms, but they can also be useful if you share a car with another driver or if you want to check on your driving habits.
Some dash cams also feature a parking mode or impact sensor, which are activated when they detect sudden force. For example, if another driver scrapes or knocks your car and drives off, the camera will begin to film so you’ll be able to find out who caused the damage.
2. The recordings can be used as legal evidence
Dash cams are particularly useful when deciding who is responsible for a car crash. In many road incidents, it’s not always clear who is at fault. This means that it’s often a case of one driver’s word against another's. However, footage from a dash cam can easily resolve the dispute and can be used by insurers to settle a claim quickly. If the recording shows that the other driver caused the collision, you could be saved from paying the excess on your insurance policy and it could also mean you don’t lose your no claims bonus.
Preventing insurance fraud is another major benefit of having a dash cam. If you find yourself a victim of a ‘crash for cash’ scam - when fraudsters crash into vehicles on purpose or make a false claim for a road accident - dash cam videos can be used as evidence to ensure you’re properly compensated and can help to prevent these incidents from happening to others.
3. Dash cams have several other benefits
Aside from being used as legal evidence, did you know that dash cams have a variety of other useful benefits too? For example, many people are unaware that they can be used as a GPS tracker in the event that your car breaks down. This means that road services will be able to easily locate you if you’re in need of emergency assistance.
Dash cams can also encourage people to improve their driving standards. By recording how you act behind the wheel, they allow you to pick up on any bad habits you may have developed over time. For example, if you’re guilty of tailgating, being able to view footage of your driving techniques might prompt you to keep a greater distance between you and the car in front. Knowing that you’re being recorded is also likely to make you more aware of what’s going on around you and encourage you to drive more safely in general.
4. What the law says
Although dash cams are legal in the UK, there are some caveats to bear in mind to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law. If you plan to drive abroad with a dash cam, make sure you do some research about the rules of the country beforehand, as they may differ from the UK. It’s also worth noting that although they are legal, dash cams can be an infringement on privacy as they are filming members of the public who are unaware.
If you work for a taxi firm and share a vehicle, you should inform the company you work for and any passengers in the vehicle if you’ve installed a dash cam. This is because many cameras record video and sound inside the car, and if people are not aware that they’re being recorded, this can be a breach of privacy.
It’s also important to remember that you could be breaking the law if your dash cam is not fitted properly. If the camera obstructs your vision while driving and you’re involved in an accident, you could face a hefty fine and the footage could be used as evidence against you in court.
Dash cams are one of the most useful pieces of technology for motorists, especially for those who spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Even if you consider yourself a safe and careful driver, accidents do happen. To avoid the expensive and drawn-out process of settling claims and insurance disputes, investing in these devices can provide you with valuable evidence and the reassurance you need. It’s also worth noting that the more dash cams are used, the lower insurance premiums are likely to be.
Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.
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