With the number of prangs, collisions and crashes that take place every day on roads across the country, it's unsurprising that dash cams are proving so popular right now. As drivers look to keep their no-claims bonus spotless, the video evidence provided by a dash cam can prove who was in the wrong, making it much easier to ascertain which party was at fault.
Whether it's an insurance claim or police prosecution, dash cams can be vital when your innocence is at stake. And with sales of dash cams increasing year on year, drivers are becoming wise to the ways that they can benefit from them in the long term.
Still unconvinced? We'll take a look at some of the pros and cons of dash cams to help you weigh up whether to buy one yourself.
They provide evidence of accidents
One of the biggest reasons that drivers use dash cams is to provide evidence if they’re involved in an accident – or they witness to one. As soon as the car engine is started, dash cams begin recording real-time footage of the journey, and providing clear proof in case of accident.
If the car you're driving is involved in an accident with evidence provided by the dashboard camera, the recordings can be used in court should it need to go that far. Should the evidence show that the accident was the fault of the other driver, then they'll be liable for any costs or repairs. Without this evidence, the other driver could end up putting the blame on the victim.
They can help to report poor or dangerous drivers
However long you've been a motorist, you'll have encountered bad drivers at some point or another. As vexing as they can be, their behaviour on the road is also reckless and irresponsible, putting both drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk.
And though it's a very British approach to avoid getting involved in others' matters, reporting bad driving to the police with the help of a dash cam means your they’re more likely to act on it.
Poor driving isn’t the only thing that can be recorded and reported on a dash cam. Things like drink-driving, texting at the wheel, road rage incidents and other reckless behaviours also fall under this umbrella. Some would call it nit-picking, but we call it being vigilant; if it means saving someone from injury (or worse), then it's well worth reporting.
They can prevent fraud
Unfortunately, staged accidents are proving popular with fraudsters, and traffic fraud accidents can have a huge impact on both insurance companies and honest drivers affected by these phoney actions. Typically targeting high-end cars, these purposely caused car accidents lead fraudsters to claim whiplash, back pain and other fake injuries from insurance companies.
A dash cam can put such tactics to end, demonstrating your innocence by showing the footage to the relevant authorities, and more and more insurers are accepting dash cam footage as proof.
They provide 24/7 car monitoring
Even when stationary, your car can still be open to danger. Depending on where you park it, you could leave your car open to theft or vandalism, even when it's parked right outside your house.
With dash cams that features a standby mode, you'll be able to easily get footage of anyone attempting to break into or damage your car. In fact, the presence of a dash cam alone can sometimes be enough to deter such behaviour from the outset.
And since dash cams can be operated remotely from your own home, all the data that's been recorded can be sent directly to your computer, tablet or smartphone, providing an extra layer of peace of mind when it comes to security.
They're not infallible
Dash cam footage doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. While it can be helpful in certain circumstances, it can also offer a very one-sided view, missing out on other hazards such as cats crossing the road, or cyclists who were out of the camera's view. Human witnesses who were present at the time of the incident remain the most important evidence to support an insurance claim.
They can be used against you
While dash cam footage can be used in court to prove which drivers are at fault, don't forget that it can also be used against you if you're found to be the driver at fault. And you can't simply refuse to share the footage should legal action be brought against you; the police are legally allowed to seize your dash cam for its footage.
They can cause data protection headaches
Dash cams are actually banned in certain countries due to the thorny issues surrounding data protection. When your dash cam is in use, you'll likely be capturing footage of members of the public without their consent.
If you're using a dash cam for more light-hearted use, say, uploading footage of a cyclist you were arguing with onto your social media channels, then you're sailing very close to a data protection no-no. Likewise, uploading certain footage could end up hindering an investigation or prosecution too.
They can be expensive
Depending on the model, you might have to fork out a pretty hefty chunk just to pay for a good dash cam. Opting for the budget option isn't necessarily cost-effective either; if your dash cam's video quality is less than stellar, then a court of law or insurance company might not be able to prove anything on the basis of such blurry footage.