Is a Dash Cam Worth it?
With dash cams growing in popularity, it’s easy to see why people are investing in ways to drive smarter. The benefits drivers, bystanders, and other road users have seen from dash cam use might just sway your thoughts on whether a dash cam is worth the financial investment.
Benefits of a Dash Cam
Here are a few of the benefits dash cams can offer:
- Capture First-hand Accident Evidence
- Parents Can Monitor First-time Drivers
- Submit Dash Cam Footage to Insurance Companies
- Share Dash Cam Videos with Affected Parties and Police
- Document Scenic Drives or Road Trips
- Record Surroundings of a Parked Vehicle
- Record Inside a Vehicle
A dash cam can offer much more than just simple footage of a driver’s journey. With a plethora of features, dash cams give drivers an advantage in driver awareness and safety, and if combined with a radar detector, they create the ultimate driver alert system. Whether you want to keep an eye on a parked car, monitor your teenager’s driving, or have proof you’re not at fault in an accident, dash cams can be a great addition to your vehicle. Read on for more details on each of the benefits mentioned.
1. Capture First-hand Accident Evidence
Having a second set of eyes on the road through a dash cam recording can help prove fault in accidents and is a great way to make sure your insurance premiums don’t increase. Another great reason to have a dash cam is to be able to catch hit-and-run drivers. Dishonest or panicked drivers may decide to flee the scene once they’ve realized they’ve caused an accident, leaving you high and dry to cover the costs of any damage. With a dash cam, not only might you be able to see the incident unfold, but with a high-resolution camera, you should be able to see license plates to help police track down the responsible party.
2. Parents Can Monitor First-time Drivers
Watching your child drive away alone for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but with dash cam features like GPS tracking and G-sensors that can sense impacts and trigger alerts, you can help ensure the accountability and safety of first-time drivers. According to the CDC, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16-19 than any other age group. In fact, data from the National Household Travel Survey indicated that the crash rate for 16-year-olds is 1.5 times as high per mile driven than for 18 or 19-year-old drivers. Dash cam recordings can serve as training opportunities so new drivers can be educated to drive safer and more responsibly. Parents can even provide another level of assurance by including a cabin view dash cam that will record what the driver and their passengers are doing inside the vehicle.
3. Submit Dash Cam Footage to Insurance Companies
Insurance rates can change due to a number of factors, including age, commute distance, and driving record. Speeding tickets and accidents can cause your insurance rate to jump, sometimes to over triple what they were. In the event of an accident, having a dash cam that offers incident reports allows, you to streamline the claims process for a faster experience and to prove that you weren’t at fault. No one wants to be involved in an accident, but even the most cautious drivers can be impacted by the less careful drivers around them. Instead of relying on he-said, she-said in the case of an accident, providing video footage is an indisputable way to show how an incident occurred.
4. Share Dash Cam Footage with Police
Dash cams can capture vehicle accidents, but they can also provide proof for police in hit-and-run situations, or if you’ve captured footage of someone driving under the influence. Dash cams with a wide view can also capture pedestrians, cyclists, and others who may be behaving in a way that endangers drivers. If you happen to capture a vehicle driving recklessly, whether it be excessive speeding or running a cyclist off the road, the video footage can be submitted to the police. If you happen to catch a hit-and-run, waiting for the police to arrive and sharing evidence can help catch the culprit and benefit a victim who may otherwise be stuck paying for damages and hospital bills. Professional drivers in particular are encouraged to use dash cams as standard practice in truck fleets, public transport, or in ride-share vehicles. If a crime occurs in front of or within their vehicle, having a dash cam can clear up accusations and, in some cases, even assist in court.
5. Document Scenic Drives or a Road Trip
The U.S. offers drivers a chance to see beautiful views without even leaving their vehicles. Iconic road trips on the Pacific Coast Highway, Blue Ridge Parkway, Route 66, and Overseas Highway, as well as drives through National Parks, can capture everything from stunning coastlines to gorgeous mountain views. By capturing those impressive views on a dash cam, you’re free to soak in your surroundings and enjoy the moment instead of worrying about capturing photos. And, because you can download, edit, and share footage, you’re able to create a wonderful keepsake of your journeys.
6. Recording Your Surroundings
Having front and rear-facing dash cams can capture nearly a 360-degree view of your surroundings. Not only can they record your drive, they’re also able to record while your car is parked, depending on their power source and settings. CBS News reported that 20% of accidents occur in parking lots, and a National Safety Council poll determined that the majority of drivers are distracted and multi-tasking while in a parking lot. People set their GPS location for directions, make a quick call, or even respond to an email, not paying full attention to driving or to their surroundings. Unfortunately, the lack of attention has even caused deaths!
Returning to your vehicle to see a large dent or scratch can be very upsetting and, without footage, there’s no way to prove what happened or who was to blame. If this is an area of concern, select a dash cam that has the capabilities to continue recording while a vehicle is parked, even if the engine is off. By using a hardwire connection to your vehicle fuse box and enabling parking mode or motion sensing, you’ll be able to capture video in the event that the dash cam senses an impact or if it senses motion in its field of view. This is a great way to ensure that your vehicle stays protected, especially since the footage can help when filing an insurance claim or police report. Dash cams can also catch vandalism or car break-ins and, in some cases, might even deter deviants from committing a crime entirely.
7. Recording Inside Your Vehicle
Although it may seem like an invasion of privacy to some, dash cam footage of the interior of the vehicle and its passengers is completely legal. Uber and Lyft employees are allowed cabin-view recording for their own protection and safety. Similarly, some school buses and public transport also have interior dash cams to document passenger journeys and promote safety for both the driver and others in the vehicle.
So, Is a Dash Cam Worth It?
The ability to save, download, and share dash cam video evidence has been used to identify criminals, prove driver innocence, and to protect passengers and drivers alike. We can’t describe every situation that might be captured by dash cam footage, but you can watch some of the most wild things ever captured on dash cams. Dash cams are not only a convenient device for providing you with peace of mind, they can help save you time and money in the event of an accident. You may just change your mind on whether you need one.