Accidents happen every day, and it's important that you keep yourself protected. In fact, there are over 5.25 million vehicle accidents that take place in the US every year.
With staggering numbers like that, it's important that we all take steps to protect ourselves. Luckily, with dash cameras, we can do that quite easily. So, what is a dash camera, and should I get one? Let's talk about that.
What Is a Dash Camera?
Dashboard cameras, dash cameras, or dashcams. No matter what you want to call them, they are the same thing. They are cameras resting on your dashboard or hanging from your windshield that record as you drive around.
This technology has been used for well over a decade but has become more and more common for companies and personal drivers alike.
There are many companies, workers, and drivers who choose to use these for their own protection in the event of an accident or other incident on the road. Dashcams are often used to help prevent theft, clear up insurance issues, and even fight traffic tickets. Sounds great, right? So how do they work?
How Do Dash Cameras Work?
Dashcams are plugged into your car via a USB port or a cigarette plug. When you turn on your car, you are activating that electrical output, which then turns on your camera.
The camera will have a memory card input, most likely an SD card or a micro SD card, to store the recording. You will then mount it to either your dashboard or windshield and point your camera either into the car or ahead of you to monitor what is happening in front of your vehicle.
Once the SD card is full, it will begin erasing the earliest footage on it. This could be after 8 hours, up to 48, or even higher depending on the amount of memory it holds.
Most modern dashcams come equipped with WiFi capability to link to an app on your smartphone where you can check out your recent footage. Many older models will not have this capability. However, when paired to your phone, it will allow you to view all recent footage, and sometimes even footage that was deleted from the memory card.
In the event that you find yourself in a noteworthy situation, all you will have to do is save your recent footage on your SD card and/or smartphone app to access the recording of the incident.
How Much Does a Dash Camera Cost?
Dashcams have been around for a while now, and the technology has become very efficient. For a camera with decent quality and memory, you should only expect to pay around $30 to 40 for a personal camera that you buy online or at the store.
However, if you are trying to use several dash cameras for a fleet of vehicles, then you will have to take a look at fleet pricing, as prices will vary widely from company to company.
If you are looking for a high-quality camera or audio recording, you should expect to pay a little more. However, in most cases involving insurance, a standard dash camera will work well enough.
Is a Dash Cam Bad for My Car Battery?
This is a common question about dashcams, so let's clear it up. No, running a dashcam does not affect your car battery at all. In fact, neither does charging your phone. That is, assuming you are driving.
If your car is in the "on" position but the engine isn't running, then yes, your dashcam will help drain your car battery faster, along with playing music or charging other equipment. However, when the engine is running, it is converting the fuel into electricity, which is how your equipment is charged.
The only other case where it would harm your battery is if you drive an electric vehicle. However, a camera uses an insignificant amount of electricity when compared with moving a vehicle. In most cases, it will be even less than charging your phone.
Who Needs a Dash Cam?
While anybody can benefit from the added protection, there are certain people who need dashcams more than others. Professions that rely on ground transportation can certainly benefit the most, as they spend the most time on the road. Here are a few examples.
Rideshare drivers are number one on this list because they have the unique position of needing two dash cams. Drivers with Uber/Lyft and similar companies (as well as taxi drivers) spend a lot of time driving in a city, surrounded by unpredictable drivers, pedestrians, and strangers.
Any one of them could make a false claim, misinterpret a situation, or try to extort these drivers for money. When you are driving in a city for 30 to 40 hours a week, the chances of that happening are much higher than most. Because of this, it's very important that drivers have a dashcam pointed toward the road in order to have evidence of how an incident occurred.
Also, rideshare drivers make a living by bringing strangers into their personal vehicles. After a thousand rides, if 99.9% of your riders were stellar, all it takes is one to cause you serious damage, whether that be to your body, your property, or otherwise.
Because of this, it's a great idea for drivers to have dashcams pointing into the car, as well. This will act as a deterrent to potential thieves or criminals, first and foremost, and will also offer evidence in the event that something goes wrong. This is an easy way to offer some peace of mind during your rides, as you never know who you are picking up or how another driver will behave on the road.
Although you may have seen dashcam footage of Uber/Lyft rides on YouTube, both companies have strict policies against uploading videos from their rides. Also, different states have different laws regarding dashcams, with many requiring consent from the passengers.
However, in most cases, a sticker on the window to notify passengers about the camera is enough to imply the consent of the passenger as they enter the vehicle. Check out dashcam laws by state for more information.
We are using "delivery drivers" in the broadest sense of the term. If you work in the transportation of goods at all, including truck drivers, food delivery workers, or logistics workers, you should be using a dashcam.
In the event that you get into an accident, get stuck in a dangerous situation, or if somebody else damages your vehicle, you will have evidence to support your innocence in the situation, as long as you have the camera rolling.
If you drive for a living, you are also on the road much longer than the average driver. That means that you are far more likely to see or be involved in an incident on the road. Having that extra protection will offer you long-standing peace of mind.
Most police cars come equipped with dashcams, and for good reason. They help solve crimes, offer evidence for trials, and even hold police accountable.
Well, an ambulance and a firetruck can benefit from the same technology. Emergency vehicles are often hindered in their ability to help the community, not to mention being put in danger, by aggressive or careless drivers on the road.
These people actively choose to stay in the way, cut off, or otherwise hinder emergency vehicles from arriving at important scenes, and they need to be held accountable for their actions. If more people are given tickets for refusing to yield to emergency vehicles, they may begin to think twice. Catching their actions (and license plates) on camera is a great way to do that.
This simple addition could also help gather evidence on the scene, help improve logistical challenges, and more for just a small investment.
Every Other Driver
While nobody may need a dashcam quite as much as the ones mentioned above, the truth is that every driver can benefit from using them. If you want to know how to drive safely, you should start by simply installing a dashcam.
Anybody can get into an accident, and having evidence to support your claim could save you thousands of dollars on your insurance policy, keep your driving record clean, and more.
With video evidence, you will be able to fight driving charges more effectively, prevent theft, and keep your insurance rates low in the event of an accident. For such a low cost and simple installation process, dashcams are worth it.
Benefits of a Dashcam
Whether you drive for a living or just commute five minutes to work, there are benefits to every driver when it comes to owning a dash cam. Here are just a few examples.
There have been many incidents where dashcam footage has solved crimes and brought people to justice, and certainly countless more that made people think twice about committing a crime. Anybody could be a witness to a crime on the road like a hit and run, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or more.
If you happen to be a victim or a witness of this, you can help bring justice to the situation by supplying video evidence to the prosecution.
Easy To Use
In almost every case, you can just set it and forget it. Once you put a memory card into the dashcam and set it up with the paired app on your phone (or whatever the case is), the camera will begin running as soon as you start your car.
Cameras don't typically use a lot of energy, and they won't waste any more fuel than charging your phone, so it's unlikely to be noticeable. In the event that an incident occurs, you will simply save the existing footage on your memory card and you will have it for good.
Most even have simple, interactive smartphone apps that can teach you how to set it up. However, once it's up, you won't have to think about it until something happens. You can even check out guides on how to use them.
Dashcams are very inexpensive to operate, and they have a low cost for initial purchases. For the amount of benefit they provide and the potential money that can save you down the road, it's a small price to pay for such a high ROI.
Many insurance providers will offer discounts on premiums or deductibles simply for reporting that you have a dashcam present in your vehicle. For a business with multiple vehicles, that can add up to a lot of savings.
Peace of Mind
Lastly, the biggest benefit is that, for such a small cost, you can protect your entire fleet on the road. When you're not around to see every detail of everybody's day, you simply don't know how to improve on logistical problems, let alone how to handle a vehicle incident.
With dashcams installed in every vehicle in your fleet, you will be able to hold your staff accountable, and rest assured that you have the protection that you need.
Install a Dash Cam Today
Now that we've answered all your questions about dash cameras, we're sure you know by now why it's so important to invest in one for your company. One small purchase could save you a fortune down the line. Stay up to date with our latest vehicle security news and feel free to contact us with any questions.