Not every dashcam can capture decent footage, and after all, this is its primary function. Our expert guide has been designed to help you make an informed decision as you embark on your dashcam purchase.
What are the benefits of having a dashcam?
The main reason and therefore primary benefit by far is having evidence that can be used to prove that you aren’t at fault if your vehicle is involved in a collision. Your dashcam footage could be used by the police or insurers to review exactly what has happened, potentially helping you to avoid any problems with insurance claims or legal matters. Some models also have a parking mode, meaning that any collisions that happen when you aren’t in the vehicle are still recorded.
So let’s take it back to basics, what is a dashcam?
A dashcam (short for dashboard camera) is a small camera that records what’s happening on the road ahead (or behind, depending on the model). Dashcams are designed to provide drivers and employers alike with the peace of mind, leaving them safe in the knowledge that employers, police and insurers can find out exactly what happened in case of a collision and then make a decision on who was at fault. It can also help employers manage their fleet drivers through data captured and coach them to make better driving decisions reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
How do dashcams work?
Dashcams can be placed at the front or rear of your car interior and record footage of exactly what’s going on in the camera’s field of view. The recording will continue to loop, with unimportant footage simply overwritten by new footage automatically. Most dashcams have a built-in sensor (known as a G-Sensor) that picks up any sudden change in G-force, for example, if another car collides with yours. If the G-Sensor is triggered, a clip of the incident will be saved to the memory card and locked in place so it can be reviewed without being overwritten.
Types of dashcam
The two main types of dashcams are forward-facing or front-and-rear. A forward-facing dashcam records the road ahead. A front and rear dash cam is a multiple-lens system that offers both forward-facing and rear-windscreen cameras.
Although all rear dashcams have the same objective of recording what’s behind you, you will get a very different rear view depending on the type of rear camera.
The three main types of rear cameras are:
NOTE: If you would like to know more about cabin view cameras check out our Virtus Fleet models Titan2 & Driver/Cabin Camera and VF9200 Front & Driver/Cabin Camera alternatively you could consider the Nextbase Plug & Go Cabin Camera which is compatible with the following Nextbase devices:
What is a rear-facing dashcam?
If you’ve only got a dashcam that points forward, then you won’t be recording what goes on behind your vehicle, which could be important if you’re trying to prove to insurers that you’re not at fault.
Some dashcams have an additional rear-facing camera that keeps an eye on the road through the rear windscreen, but it may be worth looking at an additional dashcam that faces out of the back window if you want to capture the most detail. There are also dashcam kits that feature both front and rear cameras that work together (known as a two-channel system). These are typically the best dashcams and provide good coverage should anything happen.
Typical Pros and Cons of forward-facing vs front-and-rear cameras
Forward-facing dash cams
If you would like to know more, check out our Titan1 and VF9100 dashcams from Virtus Fleet or if you are a Nextbase fan check out the following models: 122, 222, 300W, 322GW, 422GW, 522GW and 622GW.
Front-and-rear dash cams
If you feel you need both a front a rear view solution, then click the link to our Virtus Fleet solutions including the Titan2 and Rear Window Camera, Titan2 and Heavy Duty Rear Camera or the VF9200 or you could use the Nextbase Plug & Go Rear Camera which is compatible with the following
Unfortunately, the number of car accidents occurring in the UK is on the rise, so it is highly likely that every person reading this will be involved in some kind of car accident within their lifetime. With around 245,000 miles of road within the UK and approximately 35 million vehicles, it isn’t surprising that there is a crash or two happening every now and again. Many car accidents are minor and can easily be solved by insurance companies however, we are all too aware of the fact that some accidents can lead to injuries for drivers and passengers, many of them serious and some can even prove fatal. Here is a quick overview of the most common:
This is one of the worst types of vehicle accidents and typically occurs when a vehicle crosses into oncoming traffic and strikes another vehicle head-on. An understanding of physics tells us that this type of accident is more severe than others because the energy of the crash will be doubled due to the travelling speed of both vehicles. Dashcam footage has been seen on television shows and social media and often provides data confirming the nature of the accident and often helps avoid insurance and injury claim-related disputes.
Rear End Collisions
Rear-end collision is a more frequent type of crash, with a recent survey showing that there were around 420,000 rear-end crashes over a period of 12 months in the UK. These types of crashes tend to occur at a relatively low speed, and any injuries suffered are usually minimal. However, supporting data from a rearview dashcam can support your insurance and possible personal injury claim and avoid disputes.
How Good is the Camera Picture?
The quality of the camera in your dashcam will determine the detail that you capture. The higher the number of pixels the sharper the footage captured will be. It is also worth noting that cameras that are of a higher quality will record in higher definition, therefore using space quicker on memory cards. An SD card with higher gigabytes would be more beneficial for dash cams that record in HD. Take a look at the three main dash cam camera definitions below to determine what quality suits your needs.
Where is Dashcam Footage Kept?
When your dash cam is plugged or wired in and switched on, then it’ll start capturing footage and storing the video on a microSD memory card. If you’re lucky, then you’ll never need to actually watch this footage, but in the unfortunate case of a collision, then you can review the file that the dash cam has flagged as important. Just connect your memory card to a PC or Mac and view, copy or delete the files from there.
Some dashcam models also have Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing footage to be viewed on smartphones or tablets, so check the product features and description if you like the sound of this feature.
What are the Benefits of having a fitted/hard-wired dashcam?
While you can power your dashcam from the 12V connector in your car, there are a number of benefits to having it hard-wired in instead:
NOTE: At Daltec we can help you to ensure your camera solution is installed neatly, safely and securely. To find out more talk to us about your requirements.
The most important dashcam features:
Video quality: As we spoke about at the beginning of this article, Video quality will dictate how much you’ll actually be able to make out from the images captured. High Definition (HD) is the thing to look out for, as this will provide clear, sharp video, but Ultra High Definition (UHD, where videos are twice the resolution of HD) and 4K dash cams (where videos are four times the resolution of HD) are becoming more popular. The reason for needing such clear pictures is that it allows you to see the smaller details, such as the number plate of the vehicle that’s just collided with you and driven off or the face of the person who’s just tried to break into your car.
Viewing Angle: The viewing angle refers to how much of the road ahead (or behind) can be recorded. Dash cams sold at Halfords start at about 120 degrees and go up to a full 180 degrees. In comparison, the human eye has a field of vision of about 140 degrees, so a 180-degree camera will capture more of what’s going on at the sides of your car and is important for collisions that happen at the side or corners of the vehicle.
Night Time Recording: Not every dashcam is capable of good quality night time recording, so accidents that happen at night will still need to be recorded clearly. Some of our dashcam models have a full night vision mode, such as the XXX, which is capable of catching crystal clear 4K video even on unlit roads.
GPS: Dashcams with built-in GPS will automatically add a location to any important video clips, letting viewers know exactly where any incidents took place. This is particularly handy if the police or insurers are trying to link up your footage with CCTV images or witness information.
Wi-Fi: This feature is very handy if you want to view saved clips on your phone or smart device. By connecting your smartphone to the dash cam’s Wi-Fi, videos can be transferred without the need to remove the SD card and connect it to a PC.
Parking Mode: Many customers ask us: do dash cams work when the car is off? The answer is yes! Some dash cams come with an additional parking mode that can capture footage even if the vehicle is stationary. This is very useful if someone drives into your car when you’re not in it, or even for capturing thieves who could cause damage to your car during an attempted break-in. Advanced dash cams can be set up to send video footage directly to your phone or connected device, giving you crucial evidence to support an insurance claim.
Still Image Capture: There may be rare instances where you need to capture a photo with your dash cam (i.e., if you’ve witnessed a crime and want to grab a shot of the number plate of the car involved). Some dash cam models have this feature built-in, so consider this if you feel this function is important.
Voice Activation: Avoid taking your hands off the wheel to capture a still or lock a video clip by getting a dash cam that can do all of this with a few simple voice commands – it’s much safer!
The Nextbase 422GW, 522GW and 622GW all come with Alexa as standard, making them perfect for staying safe while capturing important images or footage. They also give you all the additional features of Alexa, such as playing music, seeking directions, connecting with your home’s smart devices and more!
Virtus Fleet: As our own brand we like to say that we are in the business of ‘saving lives’. Driver safety, driver behaviour and general road safety are of paramount importance to us. Our primary aim is to continue to develop safety solutions within the automotive, fleet and insurance sectors. Our knowledge is unsurpassed in the industry. With over 20 years of experience in vehicle technology, VIRTUS FLEET products are designed to protect vulnerable road users by assisting drivers to be safer.
Nextbase: Nextbase is a market-leading, best-selling brand with an impressive range of design features and functions that include Wi-Fi connectivity, HD video recording and some impressive sensor technology from Sony in selected models.
Now that you’re a dash cam expert you’ll want to check out our range. Just remember we are only an email or call away to help so contact us at email@example.com or call us on 020 8515 7820 to talk through your requirements.