8 tips for buying the best dash cam

Dashcams, aren't those devices that are used to film funny and clumsy car accidents from Russia? Exactly, but also in the Netherlands you see these car cameras more and more. In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about dashcams and how to pick the best dashcam.

Tip 01: Dashcam

The reason you see so many videos of accidents, near-crashes and weird traffic situations from Russia is that almost everyone in the country has a dashcam installed in their car. Partly because testimonials from bystanders often have little weight in Russian processes, Russians do not take their car without a dashcam on the road. Dashcams are also becoming more popular in other countries because the images can easily show who is at fault in an accident. A side effect of the popularity of dashcams is that you can see interesting videos on YouTube of other events that happened to be recorded by a dashcam. Well-known examples are the meteorite impact of Chelyabinsk in 2013 or the crash of a TransAsia plane in Taiwan in 2015. Dashcams, also known as 'car dvr', come in all shapes and sizes. Time to dive deeper into the matter!

Legal or not?

In the Netherlands and Belgium you can just film with your dashcam, but if you decide to publish a video, you have to show people unrecognizable. This is in connection with privacy legislation. In other countries, the use of a dashcam may be illegal, in Austria, for example, you can expect a hefty fine if you have installed a dashcam in your car.

Dashcams are becoming more and more popular because it can show who is at fault in an accident

Tip 02: Insurance

Insurance companies are happy with material from a dashcam, because it helps to solve the debt question more quickly. It is therefore logical that insurance companies encourage the use of dashcams. Unfortunately, this does not yet lead to discounts on your premium in the Netherlands, but that seems to be a matter of time. In the United Kingdom and Belgium there are already companies that offer a discounted premium. However, there are companies that give away a dashcam as a gift when taking out a new car insurance policy. Whether images can be used in the event of an accident also depends on the dashcam model. For example, it must be certain that the recordings or the time indication cannot have been tampered with, this is not completely clear with all dashcams. Also, on many dashcams you cannot find out how fast someone has driven, and that is an important point in the question of guilt for insurance companies and the police or justice.

Tip 03: Recording Quality

One of the most important things when purchasing a dashcam is of course the recording quality. If your camera can only shoot blurry images in low resolution, it is of no use at all. As a rule of thumb, a camera must have at least a resolution of 720p, which equates to 1280 by 720 pixels. Most serious dashcams support 1080p: full HD recording with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. In addition, some dashcams have special features that you will not find in a normal camera. For example, some models automatically filter fog from a shot and options such as 3d noise reduction can ensure that images are optimized if an unclear frame is shot. There are also dashcams on the market that offer automatic image stabilization, useful when driving over bumpy terrain. Most dashcams can also record both videos and photos.

Tip 04: Cameras

Most dashcams only film through the windshield, but there are of course also models that point a camera at the front and back of your car. This is useful because you can also record traffic coming from behind. In addition, almost all dashcams have a microphone on board or are supplied with a small separate microphone. There are different models: it can be a smartphone-like device that you clamp to your window or a separate HD camera and a large touchscreen with which you operate all functions. Then you have to think about whether your dashcam only focuses on the lane in front of you or also the other lanes. The wider the angle, the more a dashcam can record. A 140-degree viewing angle is normal, a 170-degree angle is perfect for wider shots. Some dashcams even have a function that notifies you when you move out of your lane, called a 'lane departure warning system'. Others can read road signs and warn you if you're speeding. Power can get a dashcam from the 12/24volt socket in your car. Last but not least: see if night mode (night vision) is important to you, this means that the dashcam can still make good recordings even in less light.

A 140-degree viewing angle is normal, a 170-degree angle is perfect for wider shots

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