Dashboard cameras and black-box technology are great ways to cover your tush in the event of a fender bender. Whether an honest mistake or an intentional insurance scam, video evidence that an accident wasn't your fault can save you big bucks.
While the technology is fairly cheap, odds are that you've already got a GPS-enabled camera suction cupped to your windshield or dashboard on the back of your smartphone. Why not work with what you've got and take advantage of this hardware with a dashboard-DVR app like DailyRoads Voyager for Android?
Essentially, what this free Android app does is continuously record video of the road ahead using your phone's camera while also tracking vehicle speed, location, and G-forces using the onboard GPS receiver and accelerometer. In the event of a fender bender, a quick tap of the screen can save a clip of the moments preceding the accident. Clip length varies from 30 to 60 seconds, depending on where in the caching loop you trigger the save. DailyRoads Voyager can also be set to automatically save a clip if the accelerometer registers a hard enough impact, so even if you're incapacitated or forget to tap the screen, you'll be covered.
Users are given control over how much SD card space they'd like to devote to DailyRoads Voyager's video cache, so you don't accidentally fill your storage space with uneventful driving footage. The app can even be set to automatically upload captured clips to a variety of video sharing sites, such as YouTube, for safe-keeping. My personal favorite feature is the ability to set the DailyRoads Voyager to run in the background on faster phones, leaving the screen free for other tasks, such as turn-by-turn navigation, or simply free from distractions. When combined with the accelerometer-triggered saving function, you can turn your Android phone into an always-on dashboard watchdog. Just remember to plug your phone into a charger--all of that recording, caching, and uploading can tax a battery.
iOS users should check out DriveMate Rec Mini (or the more fully featured DriveMate Rec), which offer similar functionality and a more polished interface for about $3.99. If you've got a favorite dashboard camera app for Android, iOS, or Windows Phone, sound off in the comments and let us know.