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 may offer a discount for companies who have one installed, as long as they agree to provide footage on request (we advise you check with your insurer to see if a deal is available). A dashcam can also work alongside your vehicle tracking solution to help with driver behaviour reporting and increasing your fuel consumption and wear and tear savings.
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 dash cams 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 around the problem by splitting the video into small chunks, usually video files of 1-10 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 panic/manual button on the device) or in most cases the device will automatically save a file if it detects a sudden change in g-force (because of an accident, near miss or emergency stop).
Do I need to wipe the memory card manually?
This will depend on the type of dashcam you fit, along with which memory card you put in. 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 purchase cameras that have self formatting memory cards. Always ask for clear instructions on managing your footage and memory cards from your provider - the last thing you want to do is to have an incident with no footage available!
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. We would always recommend that you hard wire the device into your vehicle through an authorised engineer, this way the device is always connected and on when the vehicle is on, and some cameras also have a 'park' mode, that will wake the camera up if it detects a knock with the ignition off (such as car parks etc..)
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).
Can you hide away the dash cam’s power cable?
Yes, even if you’re plugging the power cable into a 12V (cigarette lighter) socket, you can normally tuck the cable behind the car’s headlining and down the inside of the trim on the A-pillar (the metal body structure either side of the windscreen), then under the carpet to the centre console.
If you decide to “hardwire” the dash cam (which Cloud Telematics always recommend), which means running a power cable directly into the car’s wiring. Most providers will come to your premises to carry out installation.