Dashboard cameras are used more and more all over the World. They first became popular in Russia and China, but spread to other corners of the World over the years. The dangers cameras can help protect you from are not always related to driving and traffic, and they have various uses.
No matter what the reason is, it is always good to have a reliable witness after a traffic issue and nothing can beat a video recording of the actual events taking place. What you need to make sure is that your camera’s video quality is good enough to capture and clearly display license plates, street signs, and maybe some other details. You also probably should check the sound recording quality of your camera, because obviously you may need a sound recording too. If you want a dash cam you should first check out some reviews, this website has some excellent reviews and compiles lists so it’s easier to find what you want, for example they have the best dash cam list which provides their personal list of dash cams, however you only need a cheap dash cam to protect yourself so no need to splash out on any higher end models.
Recordings made by car cams are generally accepted by the police and admissible as evidence, except in a few countries such as Austria, where car cams are completely banned.
In Germany, you can own a car cam, but it is illegal to post any footage of some public event or place online and is considered a breach of privacy. You can use a car camera recording in court, but only in cases of heavy importance and severity.
The legality differs from country to country, but in the U.K. it is legal and accepted by the police and the court.
Recording of an incident
The most common use of car cameras is to record and document an incident on the road, occurring while driving or while parked.
These cameras have a loop recording system, which means they continuously record and overwrite the oldest footage after the memory is full. This insures you have a camera recording all the time, and makes reviewing your saved videos easier later.
They also possess a gravity sensor that detects sudden shifts in the car’s position, speed, movement, etc… When this occurs, the G-sensor locks the current loop recording and keeps it from being overwritten, thus giving you a video account of things transpired.
Some cameras have a motion sensor, which means they detect motions near your car even when your car is parked and turned off. When the camera detects motion, it then turns on and records for a certain amount of time, again giving you the chance of having a video recording of things transpiring. Loop recordings made this way will also be protected against being overwritten.
Having motion detection gives car cameras much more versatility, for you can even use them in your home, as security cams. If need be, you can install a car dash cam to guard your window, terrace, or front door, and it will record any movement detected. All you need to make sure is that it has a constant power source, which is not difficult because most of them come with pretty long power cables.
Motion detection sensor’s sensitivity can often be determined by the user, so at highest levels these sensors will detect the movement of leaves in the bushes opposite your front door or window, for instance.
Advanced Driving Assistance System
There are some models, usually in mid-range and high end cameras that possess the ADAS, or the advanced driving assistance system.
Now, this system utilizes the GPS function in order to help the driver, providing him with some useful information and warnings.
The first feature of the ADAS is the Frontal Collision Warning System, or the FCWS. What it does is that it calculates the speed of your car and the car in front of you, and if a collision is eminent the camera will instantaneously warn you with a beeping sound.
Using the GPS data, the system monitors your car’s position in your current lane, and if you leave it, you will also get a beeping warning with the help of the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).
There are also some less important uses like the Fatigue Warning, which calculates the length of the trip and advises you on where to stop and rest.
Overall, can be a useful tool, but there are many who argue this is just another distraction and that it’s preventing the driver to rely on his own awareness, so we guess it’s an individual choice.
In Russia, where these gadgets first became popular, it is a common belief that one of the main reasons car cameras were used was to fight against police corruption. It is a wide spread belief in Russia that police officers were abusing their position and charging people for a felony they did not commit, like not having a seat belt. Cameras were then used to protect against that or other unfortunate events.
Later on, taxi drivers began using them as a means of protecting themselves against inappropriate passengers, thus giving them the popular term ‘taxi cams’.
Front and Rear View
More and more cameras are utilizing the dual lens feature, providing drivers with more coverage.
There are many camera models today that come in pairs, front and rear, and are mounted so that you can point one (front cam) through the front wind shield, and install the rear one out back, to records through your rear wind shield. This way you are covering much more than with only one.
The duo cam set can of course be installed in various different ways. One cam can view the inside, other front, or just back, or both inside… The possibilities are up to you.
Having a car dashboard camera is certainly better than not having one. As you’ve seen, they can be used to prevent incidents, but if not than they can certainly help end then in a way that is beneficial to you.
A growing concern amongst the drivers is the case of people staging accidents in order to collect their insurance or to sue the other party. Car cameras can help you uncover the frauds and prove your innocence.
It’s an all around useful tool and is certainly worth the investment, because no price is too high if your safety on the road is at stake.