LEADING DASH CAM DASHBOARD CAMERAS REVIEWED

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THE TECHNOLOGY that has been safeguarding the reputations – and insurance policies – of good drivers in Russia for many years is now taking the UK by storm.
Our roads are by no means accident-free, and fitting a dash cam to your car can help reduce your insurance premiums – and offer you peace of mind when it comes to disputes over liability in an accident.

Driving has pulled together a number of leading examples, from basic video recording models to top-of-the-range dashcams with multiple cameras, accident sensors and the ability to record your speed and location by GPS.

Our detailed findings are below, with the models now grouped by year of review as well a budget, so this is the best place to come for information on the top dashcams currently available.

Dash cam Q&A
Why fit a dash cam?
The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates that 30,000 “crash for cash” incidents – for example, when a driver slams on their brakes to make a following car hit them – take place every year. Dash cams can help insurers identify fraudulent claims and determine who is at fault, so some offer a discount for drivers who have one installed, as long as they agree to provide footage on request (check with your insurer to see if a deal is available with your chosen dashcam).

Bear in mind that police will get involved if someone has been injured in an accident; they have the power to seize footage, which may be used as evidence.

How do dashcams work?
Dash cams are smarter than your basic video camera. Yes, you could attached a forward-facing GoPro or Dogcam to your windscreen and record your whole journey in one long file, but what if you run out of space on your memory card before the end of the journey?

Dash cams get round the problem by splitting the video into small chunks, usually video files of 1-3 minutes. When the memory card is full, the oldest file will be deleted to make room for a new file, meaning it will always record.

However, important files can be locked and protected from deletion, either manually (by pressing a button on the device) or in most cases automatically if the device detects a sudden change in speed (because of an accident or emergency stop).

Do I need to wipe the memory card manually?
Yes. Although the oldest video clips are deleted automatically to make way for new footage as the dash cam records, you may find that the protected (emergency recording) files build up over time and eventually fill the card, perhaps causing an error message to appear. For this reason, it’s best to format the memory card once every couple of weeks or so. In most cases, you will be able to do this via the dash cam’s menu.

Where can I mount a dash cam?
Dash cams should intrude no more than 40mm into the swept area of your windscreen wiper blades and must not be mounted in the area directly above the steering wheel.

Can a dash cam screen be on when I’m driving?
No. If a dash cam has a built-in screen, make sure it is switched off or turns itself off after a few seconds, as the law says motorists must not be able to view video-playing devices while driving (there are some exceptions to this rule related to providing information about the status of the vehicle itself – a parking camera, for example – but a dash cam does not meet these criteria).

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