It can all happen in the blink of an eye. You’re driving along and, the next thing you know, you’ve been involved in a car accident. In fact, things can move so quickly that you and anyone else involved may not be totally sure about what happened.
This is the sort of situation where a dash cam can be very useful.
What is a dash cam?
A dash cam is a device which you attach to your car to continuously record video and audio while you’re driving. This footage can provide useful evidence if there is a dispute about what happened in an accident and who was to blame.
Despite their name, these devices aren’t fixed to your car’s dashboard, but instead behind the rear-view mirror, using suction cups, a bracket or sticky pads.
There are three main types of dash cams:
- Front view: this is your entry-level model, and the most common and cheapest type of dash cam to buy. They only capture the road ahead, not what’s happening behind your car.
- Front and rear view: these capture what’s happening in front of your car and behind it.
- Cabin view: these record everything that happens inside the vehicle. They are generally used in taxis.
Some dash cam models even include a parking mode, which starts recording whenever an impact is detected, to record bumps and scrapes in busy car parks.
The benefits of dash cams
A dash cam could show you weren’t at fault for an accident, potentially providing an unbiased source of evidence for use by the police or your insurance company.
If evidence from your dash cam is used in a claim, then it may help get it settled much faster, reducing any stress and hassle for you.
By installing a dash cam, you could also benefit other drivers and road users. Dangerous drivers have been penalised as a result of dash cam footage. In 2015, the first UK jail sentence was handed out off the back of incriminating dash cam footage.
If you want to be a good citizen and catch an incident on your dash cam, you can submit footage using the National Dash Cam Safety Portal (NDSP), which was set up in 2018 with the aim of reducing road accidents and making UK roads safer.
Other advantages of dash cams include:
- You can use it as a GPS tracker if you break down somewhere remote and need help.
- Your footage could be used as evidence to support your case if you suspect you've been a victim of a crash for cash fraud.
Impact on car insurance
If you’re involved in an accident, you can use your dash cam footage to provide evidence that a third party is in the wrong.
In addition, some insurance companies offer a discount on your car insurance if you install a dash cam. This depends on your provider as well as each individual policy, so you should always check with your insurer. On the other hand, beware that installing a dash cam could be classed as a modification by some insurers, which could potentially result in higher premiums.
Things to consider
Dash cams can be very useful, while also providing peace of mind to drivers who use them.
But there are some restrictions and rules you should be aware of before fixing one of the devices.
First, it must be fixed in the right place, behind the rear-view mirror, to ensure it doesn’t obstruct your view of the road. You may be breaking the law if you install your dash cam incorrectly and any footage recorded on it could be inadmissible in court.
Also, it’s important not to let your dash cam become a dangerous distraction while you drive. So, don’t ever fiddle with it while driving, even when waiting at the traffic lights. Otherwise, as well as becoming a danger to yourself and other road users, you could face a £100 fine and three penalty points.
Finally, bear in mind that your dash cam footage could potentially be used by the police to prove your own wrongdoing in a motoring violation.
Whether or not you opt for a dash cam, Rias is here to help. We provide comprehensive car insurance, so get your quote today and see what we could do for you.