What is a Dash Cam

What is a Dash Cam

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What is a dash cam?

A dash cam, dashboard camera, or dash camera is  precisely what it sounds like – a camera mounted on your vehicle's dashboard.

Its primary job is to act as a reliable witness in case of road incidents, meticulously recording every detail of what happens on the road to ensure you’re protected. 

How does a dash cam work? 

A dash cam provides valuable evidence of road incidents by capturing high-quality video, storing important data, and offering features like loop recording, G-sensors, and easy access to footage. 

Here are the five main components of what makes a dash cam work: 

  • Camera Lens: The camera lens is the most crucial component of a dash cam. It captures video footage of the road and the surrounding environment. The quality of the lens, its field of view, and resolution (measured in pixels) determine the clarity and detail of the recorded video.
  • Power Source: Dash cams are typically powered by the vehicle's electrical system. They can be connected to the vehicle's fuse box or plugged into the cigarette lighter port using a power adapter. Some dash cams also have a built-in battery for short-term use when the vehicle is parked.
  • Storage: Dash cams record video footage to storage media, usually a microSD card. The capacity of the microSD card determines how much footage can be stored before overwriting begins. Dash cams may also have internal memory or cloud storage options for data backup.
  • G-Sensor: Many dash cams include a G-sensor (accelerometer) to detect sudden movements, such as impacts or collisions. When an event like this occurs, the G-sensor can trigger the dash cam to lock and protect the associated video files, preventing them from being overwritten.
  • Display and Controls: Some dash cams have a built-in display screen and controls that allow you to configure settings, review footage, and access various features directly on the device. Others rely on smartphone apps for configuration and playback, and they may not have a built-in screen.

These five crucial features are essential for the basic functionality of a dash cam, but more advanced models may include additional features such as GPS, or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Are dash cams worth it? 

The question of whether or not a dash cam is worth it depends on your individual needs and circumstances. 

In the event of an accident or road incident, having a dash cam can provide crucial evidence for insurance claims, police reports, and legal disputes, potentially saving you money and protecting your interests.

It all comes down to what you see in value. If you’re the type who doesn’t wait for life to happen, then a dash cam can be the perfect roadside companion. 

Dash cams can simplify insurance claims, protect you from fraud, and even make you a better, safer driver by providing valuable feedback —it's a small investment for a whole lot of safety and convenience!

What makes a good dash cam?

The single most important factor that makes a good dash cam is reliability. A reliable dash cam is one that consistently functions as intended, captures footage without interruptions, and endures the various environmental conditions it may encounter on the road. 

When researching and shopping for a new dash cam, consider the following top five things to look for to ensure you get a dash cam that functions as needed. 

What to look for in a dash cam: 

Video Quality: High-quality video recording is essential for identifying important details such as license plates and road signs.

  • Aim for at least 1080p resolution (Full HD) for clear video footage.
  • Consider higher resolutions like 1440p or 4K for even better quality.

Reliability and Build Quality: A reliable dash cam should be durable, able to function consistently, and withstand a wide range of temperatures and road conditions. 

  • Look for a dash cam with a built-in supercapacitor battery that can withstand temperatures -4°F to 104°F 

Wide-Angle Lens: A wide field of view is vital for recording the entire scene during incidents and to minimize blind spots.

  • Look for a dash cam with a wide-angle lens, typically around 140-170 degrees

G-Sensor and Event Recording: A G-sensor detects sudden impacts, such as accidents or collisions, and triggers event recording. This feature protects important footage by preventing it from being overwritten. 

  • Go for a dash cam with a G-sensor that’s both motion and collision sensing 

GPS Functionality: GPS records location and speed data, providing context to recorded events, such as the time and location of an incident. 

  • Aim for a dash cam that has a built-in GPS Logger

While these are the top five considerations, individual preferences and priorities may lead you to prioritize certain features over others. 

You may also want to assess other features such as parking mode, user-friendliness, connectivity options (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), audio recording, and the size and design of the dash cam. 

Ultimately your choice should align with your specific needs and budget. 

Should I get a dash cam? 

Dash cams can provide valuable evidence in the event of accidents or disputes, potentially saving you from legal issues or costly insurance claims.

For truck drivers, Uber/Lyft drivers, everyday commuters, or parents of young drivers, dash cams can be essential for monitoring and improving driver behavior, leading to safer road practices.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in a dash cam should be based on your individual needs and priorities. If safety, accountability, or security are important to you, a dash cam can be a valuable tool for added protection and evidence on the road.

Need help deciding which dash cam to purchase? Check out more of our helpful guides! 

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