Dash Cams, Do You Need One?
(3 minute read)
During the 2018 festive season, 1286 accidents were recorded, this is according to the preliminary Festive Season Road Safety Report which was released by former minister of transport, Blade Nzimande in January 2019.
It has also been noted that every driver has a probability range between 20-40% of being involved in an accident, the fact always remains that should you be involved in an accident there is always 3 sides to the story or the recollection of events:
The other driver’s story
Fast Fact: Did you know that popularity raised in Russia and South Korea because scammers threw themselves onto slow-moving vehicles in a bid to claim insurance money?
Dash cams have become popular in recent years with insurance companies abroad even offering discounts to motorists who use them and substantiate their claims with their footage.
This little device has proven to be an ‘’in-car Blackbox’’ that saved me (and what I presume, many others) from a rather ambiguous claim, see for yourself in the video footage below:
Now that you’ve seen the video, do you think it would’ve been easy to verbally prove that I had right of way?
Drop your opinion in the comment section at the end of this post.
In case you were wondering, the vehicle was written-off.
There is a plethora of dash cams available ranging from cheapies under R500 to reliable brands like the Garmin which will be worth your while however will probably stretch your pockets too.
The advantage of purchasing a cheapie is of course the price however a major disadvantage is reliability and battery quality, I initially bought a cheapie but it had the worst battery - I could not get through a 12 minute drive without it requiring external power so if you, like me, loathe hanging cables then this will not work for you.
My current dash cam is a Koonllung that was between high-end and cheap with a 1080p wide view camera, included a 16GB MicroSD for recordings (this gave me almost two hours of footage) and a battery life that stretched to 45 minutes at a time before I required external power.
What I love about dash cams:
1. Insurance claims, I don’t even need to explain my story because I have the truth;
2. I can report other reckless vehicles with the footage I have;
What I don’t like about dash cams:
1. Battery life, as mentioned above, I keep my car clean of cables with the only constant cable being my iPhone for CarPlay
2. One needs to constantly format the MicroSD card in order to ensure your footage is captured, yes, you can run your footage on loops but if you watched my accident experience had the camera been on a loop then the important detail would’ve been recorded over because the cam was left unattended for 15 minutes or so following the incident.
If you can’t afford a dedicated dash cam you do have alternatives:
Use your smartphone as a dash cam, if you have a windscreen holder for your mobile device then you could always turn on the video to record while you drive and once you reach your destination, simply delete the video.
Yes, this sounds like a schlep however should you ever need footage of what happened then at least this way you are covered.
Use a GoPro
If you own a GoPro or Action Camera then you can easily use it as a dash cam too, I’ve noticed that action cameras generally have better battery life than dedicated cameras too so if you have one gathering dust on a shelf at home you can thank me later - if you do use your action camera then you can maximize its use by converting it to a dash cam while charging it on your way to your destination.