The UK’s road traffic is undoubtedly busy and congested, meaning safety is still a major challenge on our roads.
Human error means that we cannot always prevent road accidents from occurring. But monitoring who is to blame, in order to reduce the stress and financial implications of an accident, is where dash cams come in.
Monitoring every day driving activities, recording important details, should they need to be called upon in court, are the purpose of dash cams.
Understanding the important factors to consider and confidently investing in the best dash cam for you and your car, is where we come in.
Do You Need A Dash Cam?
Did you know, you do not need permission to have a dash cam and you are free to install one should you wish to?
Having one depends on your interest in monitoring other drivers (and your own driving) so that should the worst happen, you have footage of the incident. So that should you need to, a recording of the accident can ultimately be used in court to make a claim or prove your innocence.
Protecting You and Your Car
Footage captured on a dash cam can be used in court, should the occasion arise, when your vehicle is involved in a crash.
Whether the footage is suitable will depend, most importantly, upon the quality of footage being clear enough quality to prove that you are not to blame in an accident.
Choosing the right dashboard cam for your car and your needs is important to fully protect you and your car in an accident and there are a number of features to consider when choosing the best dash cam for your car.
For example, all dash cams support at least 720p resolution, while some record at 1080p or even 4k – but unfortunately it is not that straight cut and higher resolution dash cams do not always produce the best footage.
Dash Cam Features Explained
There are a number of features available, with the more premium models boasting:
- GPS – allows you to track and pinpoint your exact location at the time of an incident. It shows the route and speeds you have traveled, Helping build a bigger picture of what happened leading up to a crash.
- G-force sensor – a clever feature that automatically senses an increase in g-force, protecting collision footage from being auto-loop recorded over.
- Parking mode – if you are bumped by another car while parked and away you’re your car, parking mode would automatically begin recording as soon as it detected a collision, helping identify who is responsible,
- Adjustable mount / long power cable – The positioning of the cam is of great importance and you are legally required to set up your cam correctly. A long power cable will also allow you to tuck the cable out of the way, stopping it from creating an obstruction when trailing to the power source.
- Smart file storage – Most dash cams use loop recording, so when they run out of storage space, they automatically override previous footage. Having additional storage options available is a handy option, such as being equipped with SD memory card capability.
- Front and rear recording - A front and rear dash cam offer both forward and rear angle recording so that you’re covered if you are hit from behind.
- Apps – Dash Cams that come with an app and are Wi-Fi enabled to provide an easy playback function and access to footage of interest in real-time. It allows you to save footage to your phone too, backing up and protecting the valuable recording from being overwritten.
Fitting Your Dash Cam
There are also strict rules to follow when installing your Dash Cam.
Making sure your equipment is positioned properly is important to avoid breaking the law, as well as being positioned to capture footage that can be used in court.
The mount is often fitted via a suction cup or double-sided tape and must be positioned so as to avoid obscuring the driver’s vision. It must sit:
- Behind the rear-view mirror
- In the centre of the windscreen
- Capturing both lanes of the road ahead
- Include the signage on either side of the road
- Not obscuring the driver’s sight
- Power cable tucked out of vision
- Alternatively hard-wired to your cars electrics to eliminate cables
If your dash cam is obscuring your vision in any way and is judged as unsafe by police you may be fined and the footage deemed as inadmissible in court.
5 Best Dash Cams
Making sure you buy a good dash cam will come down to how much you want to spend, which additional features you want it to be capable of and most importantly the quality of the video footage it captures.
There are many options available, here are 5 of the best dash cams available and their individual features.
1. Garmin Dash Cam 66W
With a wide-angle 180 degrees view, high quality 1440p high dynamic range (HDR) video and easy viewing 2.0-inch LCD screen – the latest Garmin 66W dash cam is compact in size and easy to use.
It performs well in low light, has Wi-Fi enabled connection to your smartphone app, GPS tracking, and a park-mode for careless drive-by bumps when you aren’t around.
2. Motorola MDC150
You get full HD 1080p video quality, night vision and a 2.0-inch display, at a great price - under-cutting its rivals.
The camera constantly records on a loop, then saves a block of footage when its G-force sensor detects a collision. However, GPS tracking is not integrated and there is no SD memory card included.
3. Thinkware F800 Pro
The F800 Pro 10809 video quality dash cam alerts you to speed camera, delivers enhanced night vision mode and fits snug against the top of your windscreen for a minimal obstruction factory-fit look.
It has integrated GPS and is Wi-Fi enabled to connect to your smartphone app, to view the recording and alter settings with ease. There is also an option for a rear-view camera.
4. Nextbase 612GW
Said to be the world’s first 4K dash cam, the Nextbase 612GW delivers high-quality 1440p video and touch control on a 3.0-inc LCD display.
Its Sony CMOS sensor and GPS lets you track your journey and any incidents on Google Maps, while park-mode auto-records using an internal battery if a bump is detected while parked.
Larger than most, however, it may be distracting for some.
5. Philips ADR820
Philips ADR820 has Wi-Fi for live streaming, a CMOS sensor, 1296p video quality and a compact design.
Easy set-up available via the app, recording will start automatically once plugged in and a g-force sensor will automatically save the last three minutes when a collision is detected, protecting important footage.
Its optional extras include GPS, rear-facing – but there is limited internal storage so you’ll need to purchase an additional SD card too.
Dash cams are a great way to offer peace of mind when you're out and about, or you've parked your car in a suspect car park. You will be safe in the knowledge that if the unfortunate happens you're handy dash cam will catch it all.