AUTO TECH AND ROAD SAFETY

Dashcam Essentials

Dashcam Essentials image

Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Team AutoIndustriya.com | posted October 23, 2013 16:58

5 reasons to get an in-car DVR

We live in the age of video.

Video recordings, whether they be from your smartphone, video camera, CCTV camera or any other device you can find in CD-R King, are becoming the norm, and we find many uses for them. Some are used to call attention to a problematic situation (i.e. unfinished roads), be evidence for the authorities (i.e. road rage incidents) or provide amusement when you've got some time at work (i.e. YouTube).

Thinkware FXD700 dashcam in action

Recently dashboard cameras are becoming a staple on the road, given the many benefits offered by having on-board video. Here are the 5 most useful applications for dashcams.

1. In an accident, it's hard to argue with video

If you've ever figured in a fender bender with someone, you'll know the responsible party (usually through recklessness or a momentary lack of judgment) will rarely admit that they're at fault or have any semblance of fault. It's only natural; it's human nature.

Imagine if you had a dashboard camera mounted and running. You can see who cut across of who, if a red light was run, basically which party really brought about the accident. Anyone can tell a story, but the difference is that onboard video won't lie. 

Having onboard video at the time of the accident means that by the time you get in front of a police traffic accident investigator, all he has to do is watch and see for himself. You just have to hope that you're not the one responsible.

2. For your peace of mind in the parking lot

Leaving your pride and joy in, say, a mall parking lot or an open car park can be an apprehensive moment. Much like a parent is with a child, many don't want to leave them just anywhere without someone you trust watching over it.

With a dashboard camera, there's a measure of security, especially with most of the new batch of dashcams having shock sensors; if you're bumped, the camera will activate, hopefully catching the plates of the guy who did it. If someone tries to break in (hopefully you haven't left anything like a laptop, iPad or smartphone inside) then the alarm will sound (if you have one fitted) and the camera will record what it can.

Some of the newer batches of dashcam systems also have multiple cameras with one facing forward, one facing into the cabin and one facing out back.

3. Play your fun runs and trackdays over and over again

If you're into any kind of motorsport, a dashcam would be to you what a gun camera is to a World War II fighter pilot: you can replay the glory moments over and over again to the cheers of your buddies.

Having an in-car DVR would allow you to record your trackdays at the circuit or fun runs with your club up in the mountains. In a wheel to wheel race, a dashcam would also allow you to play back how many cars you passed (or were passed by), while in off-roading taking on that trail can be something you can upload to Facebook or YouTube.

You may want to opt for cameras that are portable, waterproof and shock resistant.

4. It's a learning tool

Much as an onboard video recorder can be used for entertainment and amusement, it is also a great tool when teaching someone how to drive, or showing someone their bad habits.

Having an instructor or person of authority (i.e. Dad) in the car is a tricky thing when it comes to driving, as we tend to behave differently on the road when someone's beside us. An in-car DVR can allow a parent to see how their child drives with no one watching. Yes, they'll know there's a video recorder in there, but after a while the driver settles in and focuses on driving rather than minding that there's a camera.

Much like how it would help an accident investigator, a video file of how a person drives can allow the instructor to review, analyze, and correct any bad habits (i.e. tailgating, disregarding road markings, etc.). In motorsport (i.e. like the Vios Cup), a DVR also serves the same purpose, allowing the instructor to analyze a racer's line, shifting, steering and braking and fine tune to shave off some more time.

5. You'll pick up something interesting

Our roads are busier than ever, with many things going on all at the same time; some are amusing to observe (i.e. that , some are annoying (i.e. counterflowers) while some are even commendable (i.e. that masked 'superhero' that helps the elderly cross the street).

Wouldn't it be interesting if you had a dashcam running to capture those moments for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?

Some dashcams also have a feature for manual recording (to a separate folder) or to take a snapshot so you can always record whatever you see on the road.