Dash Cams - What Are They Like?

Dash Cams - What Are They Like?
Dash cams – what are they like?
an innocent party hitting the back of a car
With the frequent use of satnav devices and driven by a gang member who can then
claim for anything from vehicle damage, loss
Bluetooth linked mobile phones in many
of earnings and personal injury, often for
cars, the idea of an additional gadget like a
dash cam might seem for many drivers more passengers who were not in the car at the
of a questionable toy. But it is clear they are time! Good quality video evidence from a
dash cam can show the real situation and
being used in all types of vehicle so why
hopefully reveal the real nature of the scam
have one, what do they do, how do you set
accident so avoiding loss of your no-claims
them up and how do you get one? Victor
discount and a higher insurance premium.
Smith sets out what he found.
Other reasons for a dash cam are to
With the increasing cost of motor
insurance and the risk of losing your no- have evidence of other drivers’ dangerous
or unreasonable behaviour including
claims bonus from an accident which was
tailgating, under-taking, using handheld
not your fault, there are real concerns for
mobile phones or road rage incidents. On a
motorists, not least for classic car drivers,
more cheerful note, the dash cam enables
where the complications of settling a claim
you to keep a video record of a memorable
involving a full rebuild can be a serious
problem. Many insurance claims can be very route, something many classic car drivers
might often have wished they could do as
difficult to resolve fairly as each party often
they were enjoying a drive through the
denies responsibility and where the police
are involved, any forensic evidence may not Yorkshire Dales or the Highlands.
reveal the true situation and responsibility.
How do you get a dash cam?
This can result in either both parties having
The range of dash cams available online or
to share responsibility, or even worse, the
through high street shops like Halfords is
innocent party being held wholly
large and assessing their capabilities and
performance is daunting. A Which?
By having clear video evidence with the
date and time recorded, insurers are able to magazine review of dash cams in their
understand the circumstances leading to an August 2014 issue indicated the NextBase
402G was their top rated model with GoPro
accident and settle the claim using that
evidence. With video evidence that can lead Hero3 (popular with motor racing
enthusiasts) and Transcend DriverPro 200
to faster insurance claims processing by
removing doubt and uncertainty which might second and third, but their article noted “you
will need to choose your dash cam carefully.
otherwise have delayed the settlement of
Given that they have the pretty simple job of
the claim. The benefit is it enables you to
recording the road ahead in decent detail,
protect your no-claims bonus and avoid the
we were disappointed to find most weren’t
risk of increased premiums.
really up to the task”. My first purchase was
One particular scourge over recent years
a NextBase 402G at £150 from a high
has been the growth of “crash for cash”
street retailer but I found the set up menu
scams where often highly organised gangs
was frustrating and close to impossible to
orchestrate crashes which usually result in
V8 Register – MG Car Club
use. So I took it back to seek help from the
techie fellow at the shop who twiddled the
options on the touch screen for some four
minutes and declared it was fine. Once
home again, I tried to access the set up
menu and nothing happened, so feeling
depressed by the experience I took it back
to the shop for a full refund.
I then investigated a dash cam regularly
advertised in Safety Fast!, the Digi-Cam
Action Camcorder supplied by RBS
Property Marking in Kent for less than £75
which includes a special Club member
discount. I spoke with Stan Ratcliffe who
runs the company and found he was not
Fred the Shred's replacement at RBS bank
but it was another business altogether - a
small company in Kent. I bought one of his
Digi-Cams and set it up very easily in five
minutes and had it working immediately. It
has a built-in 3.7V rechargeable lithium
battery and the video resolution is 720P
(1280 x 720, 30 frames/second). It comes
with a free 4GB class 10 memory card which
was helpful as I found that with most dash
cams you have to buy the card separately.
However I decided to buy a 32GB card to
give a greater recording capacity.
I had a query over how the Digi-Cam is
mounted on the windscreen and Stan called
back replying to my email on a Saturday
afternoon. I then mounted it on the
windscreen of my V8 and trundled round the
neighbourhood to check it was recording
well. This dash cam is a particularly small
unit (only 68mm W by 46mm H and 28mm
front to back) weighing in at only 50 grams
and it is mounted on a suction pad on the
windscreen. It is almost hidden when
located just to the left and above the rear
view mirror. The recording formats are AVI
for video and jpeg for still images.
How has the Digi-Cam preformed?
Well the daytime video recording quality is
good and you can identify the model of car
ahead but reading number plates is not easy
even when just ahead of you. Night footage
is at a lower quality but still useful. You can
connect the Digi-Cam to a computer with the
USB cable provided and copy footage
across. The kit comes with a plug-in power
lead from the cigar lighter to the screen
mounted unit to ensure the built-in battery
will be topped up. It worked well recording
my trip to the Club’s meeting at Snetterton
so I feel it is a useful introduction to dash
cams and good value for money.
Most new technology has intense product
development and that is very likely to be the
case over the next 12 to 18 months with
dash cams.
For further information with photos, see
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