While dash cams are a fairly new technology, we are likely all familiar with the footage they provide thanks to video compilations and news reporting after major crashes. While dashcams were once something typically reserved for law enforcement and professional drivers, the readily available technology has recently moved into the mainstream to become more accessible for everyone—and they’re something everyone should consider investing in for their vehicle.
How Does a Dash Cam Work?
A dashboard camera (commonly shortened to dashcam), is a small camera that is mounted on the dashboard of your car to record the details of your drive. Every dashcam model will vary in its functionality, but all will be able to record the road in front of you as you drive. There are also models that can record what is happening inside the vehicle, those that can record audio, and those that record behind the car as well. Many also come with GPS functionality in order to track your location and provide you with navigation options and metrics about every trip you take from start to finish.
What Is a Dash Cam For?
There are many applications where a dashcam might be useful to have on a vehicle. Parents are often fond of them for teens who have recently started driving, Uber and Lyft drivers can use them to record their trips in case there are disputes, and you can even use them to make travel videos when you go on road trips.
However, the most practical use of a dashcam is to give you undisputed testimony in case of a car accident. Having a dash cam that switches on every time you are in the car means that your drive is always recorded—and if there is an accident on your trip, you will have video evidence of exactly what happened leading up to the crash.
How a Dash Cam Can Help Make Driving Safer
As they have gained popularity in recent years, dash cams have become extremely useful in car accident cases. Whether you are trying to prove reckless driving, negligence, or distracted driving, having video footage is automatic, solid testimony regarding exactly what happened. Here are some ways that a dash cam can be useful if you were to get into a car accident:
There Will Be No Dispute About Who Was at Fault for an Accident.
It is unfortunately extremely common for drivers who have caused an accident to dispute the blame and claim they were not at fault, which can turn into a fierce battle if it is your word against theirs—something their insurance company will surely try to use to avoid paying out a settlement to compensate you for your damages. If there is an issue with law enforcement or the insurance companies not being able to determine who was at fault, you can clearly show that you were the victim in the situation if you have dashcam footage available. Coming from an attorney who deals with a lot of car accidents, video footage can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
You Can Protect Yourself Against Insurance Fraud.
There are many types of scams out there, and while most happen through email or over the phone, many happen in real life on our roads and freeways every day. There are many incidents of insurance fraud that have been caught on dash cams over the years—every situation from pedestrians purposefully getting hit by drivers to cars driving recklessly in order to force other cars to rear-end them. While there are many of these scenarios thwarted by dashcam video footage to clearly show it was a fraudulent accident, many more of these incidents happen every day and never get caught on camera.
It Is Another Element of Defensive Driving.
People have known for years that driving defensively is the safest way to drive. Scanning the roadway, following at a safe distance, and being alert to environmental changes have all existed as pinnacles of defensive driving, and thanks to new technologies, dash cams can now join that roster. While dash cams are not a crash prevention device in the way that many of these other methods are, it follows the same logic to protect you: if you are more aware of everyone else’s subpar driving skills, you can adjust your own technique to be safe and conscientious.
They Can Come in Handy for Hit-and-Run Accidents.
When a hit-and-run accident occurs, victims are often shaken up, injured, and dazed—meaning that absorbing the make and model of the offending vehicle or jotting down a license plate number is entirely out of the question. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run with a dashcam, however, you have the documented evidence of the car that hit you driving away, which authorities can then use to track down the offending party.
You Can Help Everyone Be Safer on the Road.
We’ve all had the experience of being in the car and seeing someone driving recklessly—or worse, have seen an accident firsthand. Having witnesses present after an accident can be a significant help in determining fault, but having a witness with dashcam footage is even more helpful. If you have a dashcam and see a reckless driver or an accident, you can work with authorities to make sure those at fault are not able to continue their dangerous behavior due to a lack of evidence.