Dashcams can be extremely useful if you’re in a car accident and want to show insurance companies and the police exactly what happened. Our guide to dashcams explains what they are and why many motorists find them so beneficial.
What are dash cams?
Dashcams are video cameras that motorists attach to their car’s dashboard or windscreen – usually at the front – to capture what’s happening whilst they’re driving. The dashcam turns on automatically and begins continuously recording as soon as you start your car.
Some drivers fit two to their car, putting one on the rear as well. Alternatively you can buy just one dashcam that records both to the front and rear of the car simultaneously.
The captured footage is time-stamped so that it shows the date and time at any given instant. Only you have access to the footage, but if you want to share it with your insurance company or the police in the event of an accident, you can do so easily.
Different types of dashcam
- Front view – Fitting a single-view dashcam that records what’s happening to the front of your vehicle is the cheapest option but not the most comprehensive
- Rear view – You could also buy another dashcam and place it on the rear windscreen to record behind your car. However, in that case, you might as well opt for a dashcam that does both (see below)
- Front and rear view – Many road accidents involve rear-end collisions, so a dashcam that records footage both in front and behind your car helps to cover all bases
It’s worth noting that standard dashcams only record while you’re driving. But some models also automatically start recording if your car is stationary and another car drives into it or if someone breaks in.
What are the benefits?
Having a dashcam fitted to your car provides considerable benefits:
- Easier to prove an accident might not be your fault and speed up the claims process
- ‘Crash-for-cash’ scams – such as someone deliberately breaking hard in front of you – are easier to prove
- Helping other drivers by recording accidents that might happen close by, even if you’re not involved
- The police sometimes use motorists’ dashcam footage to catch dangerous drivers
- Emergency services can use your dashcam as a GPS tracker to locate you if you break down
How much do dash cams cost?
Prices range from around £30 for basic models to £300 or more for the most sophisticated. The most expensive models offer motion detection when your car is parked, security alerts, and remote access via the internet. Paying more usually means that the captured image quality is higher with better definition.
Dashcams and your view of the road
A dashcam must not prevent you from having a clear view of the road, both ahead and behind. It would be illegal if it did. Fitting instructions should indicate the best places to position the dashcam to ensure you’re able to drive safely with one in your car.