You've invested tens of thousands of dollars into your vehicle. In addition to car payments and the cost of maintenance, you also pay a hefty monthly fee for auto insurance. Other than your home, your car is likely the single most expensive item you own and you'll want to do everything you can to protect it.
While dash cams have long been a necessity for taxi and truck drivers - they rely on footage as evidence in the event of an accident - the technology has recently found its home on many mainstream drivers' dashboards. Like the smart camera in your home, a dash cam empowers you to take control of your car's security, allowing you to record incidents like vandalism, collisions and theft.
Let's take a look at the most important reasons you should consider installing a dash cam.
1. A dash cam arms you with hard evidence
Video footage goes a long way with law enforcement, particularly in the case of two-vehicle collisions. Let's say, for example, you plan to make a left turn from a turning lane. The driver in the lane to your right doesn't see you, and crosses your path as he attempts to make an illegal U-turn. The front of your vehicle collides with his driver's side door.
When you call the police, the driver tries to pin the blame on you. He explains that he looked before he turned, but you were driving too fast and he wasn't at fault.
With dash cam footage, you would have hard evidence that clearly demonstrates the driver made an illegal turn. It eliminates a potential dispute.
You'd have this footage because a dash cam turns on when you drive, captures what happens as you drive, and stores that footage on a memory card. It also can replay your footage.
2. Dash cams can save you money on car insurance
In the UK, insurers value dash cams as a helpful way to evaluate claims so much that they offer discount car insurance premiums for dash cam owners. Some insurers are offering up to 15% off car owners' monthly premiums if they use a dash cam on their motor vehicle, a fact that has increased their popularity immensely.
That savings may be crossing the pond soon, and the popularity of dash cams is expected to soar accordingly. In January 2017, New York State proposed Senate Bill S438, which would give noncommercial motor vehicles a 5% premium discount for using a dash cam. The bill is currently in committee.
3. Dash cams enable you to monitor your teenager's driving
Parents of teenagers have enough stress. You don't need to sit around wondering where-and how fast-your high school student is driving before and after school, or on the weekends.
A dash cam provides you with a comforting, non-intrusive form of surveillance. You can easily monitor where your teenager goes with the cam's GPS accessory, and review footage to see how well he or she is driving.
4. Dash cams are affordable and accessible
Most people are familiar with commercial-grade dash cams that police cars and other emergency vehicles use. These high-end cameras cost a few thousand dollars, which is a large investment for most everyday drivers. Dash cams are an affordable alternative - the Rexing V1 is the best-selling dash cam of its category on Amazon and is priced at just under $100. That's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
You also don't need to be tech-savvy to set up a dash cam. The V1 comes with a mount and a car charger. All you have to do is insert an SD card into the dash cam, mount it discreetly on your windshield and plug it into your car's standard 12V DC outlet. If you purchase the GPS module to track your car's speed and location, you just plug that into the camera-no additional power source is needed.
When you're ready to hit the road, the cam turns on when you start your car, and shuts down when you turn your car off. Then, hit the play button to watch your footage. And if you run into any technical issues, help is just a phone call away-a Rexing spokesperson says they take pride in providing 'exemplary' customer support and service.
5. Dash cams elevate driving standards
When relying on the people involved in an accident to provide an account of the incident, the driver at fault may be tempted to be dishonest about the extent of their mistake. They may place blame on factors other than themselves, and they will be less incentivized to improve their driving overall and be more careful on the road.
With a dash cam, nothing is left up in the air, so there's less room for people to not own up to their mistakes. As a Rexing representative put it to us in an interview, "Dash cams enforce a standard of accountability, something that's very important on the road."
Take Control of Your Vehicle's Surveillance
You don't need to rely exclusively on secondhand accounts, police reports, and insurance adjusters to explain fender benders, accident details and vehicle theft. A dash cam can provide peace of mind, and puts the control back in your hands.