Dash cams are becoming more and more popular in the UK, and insurers are catching on, too – with some offering insurance policy discounts for using a dash cam. Read on to find out what dash cams are and how they work!

What’s all this then?

A dash cam (or in-car camera) is a camera that sits – you guessed it – on your dashboard, recording the road ahead. The idea is that if you’re in an accident, you’ll have evidence that you were (hopefully) not at fault, and you’ll be safe from insurance fraud.

So it’s just a camera?

Not quite. Dash cams are designed to make sure that you get the footage you need in case something happens. Here’s how:

  • Help yourself to a slice – Most dash cams record video in short ‘segments’ or ‘chapters’. You can play all of them back as one long video, but you can also pick out and save or ‘lock’ certain segments that are important. This comes in useful later.
  • Going round in circles – Of course, the problem with recording everything is that there’s a lot of boring stuff! The camera records continuously, but when the SD card (or memory card) is full, old segments will be overwritten… as long as they haven’t been locked!
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    G-sensors can measure impacts and help show when you were hit

    Moving and shaking – Many dash cams come with built-in G-sensors. That means that camera can detect a bump, and lock a segment if it thinks you might have been in an accident. You won’t have to worry about pushing buttons and working your dash cam if the worst happens.

Seems simple enough…

512 Front_1That’s the idea! Dash cams are designed to do all the hard work themselves, and keep an eye out for trouble. Upgrading to a higher quality dash cam can get you a few more features that might come in handy:

  • Higher resolution – This one’s quite simple. A higher quality camera will generally record higher quality footage, meaning you can more easily pick out details like number plates.
  • Night vision – Even with headlights, a camera’s performance can be much worse when it’s dark. Higher end cameras tend to have better night vision features, so that you can be sure you’ve got the footage you need at all hours.
  • Nextbase 402G Software Image
    GPS dash cams can give you lots of extra information, like speed and location

    GPS – Some dash cams will come with built-in GPS. This means that the camera also tracks your position and speed as you’re driving, and can put it alongside the video for use as evidence.

  • Multiple cameras – You might see some dash cams with two cameras – normally one at the front and one at the back, or on swivels. This way, you can see out of the front as well as behind (or inside) the vehicle. This gives you some extra protection from all angles, or allows you to record anything that might happen inside the car.

Avoid the power struggle

dash cam fittingIf you want to really make your dash cam hassle-free then getting it hard-wired into your car can make things much easier. Normally, dash cams are powered by your cigarette lighter socket.

By getting your dash cam hard-wired the wires are kept hidden – and your power socket is freed up for a sat nav, charger or whatever else you need it for! It also means that the camera will come on when you start the car – and go off when you turn it off – so you don’t even have to touch it to be protected!

Here at Halfords we’ve got a wide range of dash cams (even for motorbike riders), and plenty of SD cards to boot! What’s more, our trained fitters can professionally install your dash cam in your vehicle. It’s a low-cost way to get peace of mind and make sure you’re covered. To find out more about dash cam fitting, head over to our site.