Dashboard cameras – what you need to know!
The Chelyabinsk Meteor, as caught by a Russian dashcam.
Reports suggest that the cameras are helping to keep others drivers honest anywhere they become common. People are now starting to assume that they’re being filmed on the road, and are driving more carefully.
Dashboard cameras catch some incredible footage as well: when the Chelyabinsk Meteor appeared in the skies over Siberia in February 2013, exploding with the force of 500 kilotonnes of TNT (about the equivalent of early Atomic bombs), it was caught on a dashboard camera. Measuring 20 metres in diameter, with a mass of 13,000 tons, it was the largest meteor recorded in 105 years! Over 1,500 were injured by broken glass as the shockwave hit homes and businesses.
On a more practical level, the cameras can be used to identify at-fault parties in accidents, to record illegal and dangerous driving, and more — any situation where it helps to have some incontrovertible evidence on your side. You can pass the footage along to insurance companies and the police, or send it to your local highway department to point out dangerous features on a roadway.
And yes, you’ll also be able to capture some incredible scenery, some entertaining footage of pedestrians and other vehicles on the road, memories of your close encounters with nature, and all of the other events you always wished you could record while you’re behind the wheel.
How do they work?
Mounting Options: Cameras typically attach to your dashboard or front windshield, and permanent mounts are available as well.
Power Options: They can be powered by batteries, a power supply in your vehicle (12 volt or USB connector), or by a dedicated line to your battery.
Footage Capture: The cameras are constantly recording and will bank a certain amount of footage based on your available memory. The recording will be overwritten continuously until you, or an event, prompts the camera to save and protect recent footage.
Some cameras come with built-in accelerometers to detect crashes, and will automatically save the recording before and after the incident. Some cameras will go into standby mode when a vehicle is parked, but will start recording if the vehicle is bumped in a parking lot or if the alarm system’s proximity sensors are triggered.
Some cameras can also geotag your data based using your GPS coordinates.
Resolution: Cameras offer a wide range of resolutions and filming options, including wide-angle lenses with close to 180 degrees of vision and HD recording that makes it easy to see things clearly.
Audio: Almost all systems record audio as well as video.
Front and Rear Configurations: Rear window or combined front and rear facing cameras are also available for vehicles, recording what happens behind your vehicle and/or inside of it.
Smart Phone Options: Drivers can also turn their smart phones into dashboard cameras by purchasing mounts and downloading an app. This does put your phone out of commission while driving and it can be a pain to continually have to place your phone into the mount. It most cases it’s better to purchase a dedicated dashboard camera system.
How much installation is required?
Not much. Most cameras can be installed out of the box, although if your camera is permanently mounted, synchronized to your alarm system, or has a dedicated power line to your battery, then some installation may be required.
The bottom line:
Dashboard cameras make everyone safer. They protect your vehicle and your reputation as a driver if there’s ever an incident and it’s your word against someone else. They catch criminals and expose dangerous drivers. The opportunity to catch amazing footage as you travel is also a huge benefit, letting you record your best experiences behind the wheel the same way your record other life moments.
They won’t reduce your insurance rates yet (like in other countries), but many feel it’s only a matter of time.
Come into the store to learn more about dashboard cameras, and to pick the solution that works best for you!