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Beginner’s Guide to Dash Cams And Why They Are A Must-Have For Any Driver

Dash cams – short for dashboard cameras – are becoming more and more popular in many countries. It’s a video surveillance system that records the driver’s perspective of the road. A dash cam can be used for various purposes, such as – most importantly – capturing accidents and incidents, providing evidence for insurance claims and even in criminal cases, monitoring one’s driving habits, or just for entertainment. It can also serve as protection against false accusations by other drivers who might think they have been victimized by your driving.

This is why dash cams are not just a fancy gadget anymore – they became a necessity for the drivers to feel safer on the road.

The basics of a dash cam

Dash cams are cameras that work in a very distinct way, optimized for their specific purpose. This is what differentiates them from regular, or even sport cameras. First and foremost, most dash cams record in a loop. 

They are designed to be almost forgotten about and “run in the background”, so that the driver doesn’t have to remember to turn them on or off, as they do so automatically. Unlike regular cameras, they also must withstand various adverse weather-induced conditions, such as extreme heat and cold.

Dash cams are typically mounted on the windshield or dashboard, facing the road (in front of the car for the front camera and behind for the rear camera) or the driver. For example, BlackVue dash cams use adhesive mounts, but a dash cam can also be installed using suction cups or other specialized mounts.

Footage from the dash cam is generally stored on a microSD card but it can also be uploaded to the Internet in more advanced models featuring Cloud capabilities.

What features you should look for in a dash cam

Now that you know what a dash cam is, you should examine their features – and which features are the ones you should take a closer look at when deciding which dash cam to buy.

One of the first things grabbing our attention is, understandably, the image quality. To ensure clear footage, which is essential for capturing important details like license plates or road signs, you should get a dash cam that records in at least full HD (1080p) or even 4K resolution.

At the same time, other factors should be considered too – namely reliability, if the dash cam operates while parked, if it has the G-sensor and various connectivity features (such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cloud). 

A reliable dash cam is capable of providing accurate and consistent video footage when you need it. It needs to be made of higher quality materials, able to withstand the rigors of daily use. Look for dash cams from established brands that focus on dash cam manufacturing, such as BlackVue.

Parking Mode is essential to provide your parked vehicle with surveillance and protection. What Parking Mode does is it allows the dash cam to continue monitoring and recording even when the vehicle is parked and the engine is turned off. All current BlackVue dash cams come with native Parking Mode – that means you don’t need any additional accessories to be able to use this feature.

G-sensor (accelerometer) detects sudden movements or impacts and it measures the movement of your vehicle through 3 axes � up and down, side to side, and front and back. In BlackVue dash cams, when the G-sensor detects significant or sudden movement (such as collision) it will trigger an event recording. However, you can adjust the sensitivity so minor incidents and bumps don’t trigger an event recording and take up space on the microSD card.

Thanks to BlackVue dash cam’s Cloud features, you can keep an eye on your car anywhere, anytime.

Bluetooth, direct Wi-Fi and Cloud features help you easily connect to your dash cam. With a Cloud-enabled dash cam you can monitor your vehicle anytime, from anywhere in the world. You can consider getting a dash cam model with LTE built-in (such as the BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE), which won’t require an additional hotspot or an external Connectivity Module to connect to the internet.

Lastly, the design of the dash cam is important too. Where it’s placed and how well the design blends with the surroundings can make a difference. It shouldn’t obstruct the driver’s vision, but it also should be hard to spot from the outside (stealthy design), less prone to theft.

Dash cam benefits & drawbacks that every driver should consider

Benefits of having a dash cam in your car are numerous and can’t be overlooked – from having evidence in case of an accident to the sense of security and peace of mind a dash cam can bring.

Dash cams provide valuable evidence in case of accidents. They can determine who was at fault in ambiguous situations and expedite insurance claims.

Speaking of insurance claims – a dash cam can also protect against fraudulent claims, such as staged accidents or false insurance claims. It can also help refute witnesses’ statements, who might have misremembered the events.

Dash cams can also help a person become a better driver – some drivers become more cautious and adhere to traffic rules and regulations better when they know they are being recorded. This can significantly reduce the risk of an accident.

With Parking Mode, a dash cam can monitor your parked vehicle and capture any incidents like hit-and-runs, theft attempts, or vandalism, which in turn gives you a sense of security even when you are away from your car.

Although there are many benefits of having a dash cam, there are a few drawbacks. One such drawback is privacy concerns, especially if you are a taxi or a rideshare driver. Make sure you use the dash cam responsibly and respect the privacy rights of your passengers.

Interior IR camera of the BlackVue DR770X Series dash cam (taxi dash cam).

Another thing to consider is the cost. Most high-end dash cams from reputable manufacturers come with a price tag significantly higher than the cheaper alternatives. It’s worth noting though, that the dash cam often “pays for itself” many times over in case of an incident on the road and saves drivers thousands of dollars.

To sum up�

In conclusion, a dash cam is a valuable tool for any driver. Whether you’re looking for protection in the event of an accident or just want to capture some memorable moments on the road, a dash cam can be a helpful and versatile device.

We hope that this beginner’s guide to dash cams has covered all the essential info about these devices, highlighting their functionality, key features to consider, and the advantages and disadvantages they bring to drivers. With this guide, you should be able to make an informed decision when deciding on your  future dash cam purchases.

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