Dash Cams 101: Everything You Need To Know

Updated on June 16, 2023

So you’re considering getting a dash cam – good call! Dash cams have become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason. They offer a variety of benefits, from providing evidence in the event of an accident to deterring would-be thieves. But before you dive headfirst into purchasing one, there are some things you should know. This article will cover everything you need to know about dash cams – what they are, how they work, the different types available, features to look for when shopping, legal considerations to keep in mind, and more.

First things first: what exactly is a dash cam? Simply put, it’s a small camera that attaches to your car’s dashboard or windshield and records footage while you’re driving. Most models start recording as soon as you turn on your car and stop when you turn it off; others may have additional features like motion detection or parking mode. The footage can be used for a variety of purposes – proving fault in accidents, capturing road trip memories, or even going viral on social media (we’ve all seen those crazy Russian dash cam videos). So whether you’re looking for added peace of mind while driving or just want to document your travels on the open road, a dash cam could be just what you need.

What Are Dash Cams and How Do They Work?

Wanna know what dash cams are and how they work? Let’s dive in! Dash cam technology has been around for quite some time now, but it’s only recently that they’ve become popular among drivers. A dashboard camera or dash cam is a small video recorder that’s installed on the windshield or dashboard of your car to record everything that happens while you’re driving.

Dash cams come with different recording quality options, ranging from 720p to 4K. The higher the recording quality, the clearer and more detailed the footage would be. Most dash cams have loop recording feature where older footage gets overwritten by new one when the storage space fills up. However, if there is an accident or any event recorded manually through emergency button press, then such recordings get saved so that it doesn’t get overwritten.

The working principle of a dash cam is simple- it records everything that happens on the road ahead of your vehicle. It does this by using a wide-angle lens to capture a broad view of what’s happening in front of your car and storing it on a memory card inside the device. This footage can be used as evidence to support insurance claims or legal cases, helping you prove who was at fault in an accident or other incident on the road.

garmin dash cam 57
Garmin dash cam

Benefits of Using a Dash Cam

Imagine always having video evidence of any incidents or accidents while driving, giving you peace of mind and potentially saving you money on insurance. This is one of the most significant benefits of using a dash cam. Insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who use dash cams because they provide valuable evidence in case of an accident. With a dash cam, you can prove that you were not at fault and avoid paying for damages that were caused by another driver.

In addition to insurance discounts, using a dash cam also provides crucial accident evidence. In case of an accident, the footage captured by your dash cam can be used as evidence in court or with your insurance company. This means that there will be no need to rely solely on witness statements or police reports which may sometimes be inaccurate. The footage from your dash cam can provide a clear picture of what exactly happened during the incident and help resolve disputes more quickly.

Moreover, having a dash cam installed in your vehicle can also deter criminals from targeting your car. Thieves are less likely to attempt stealing or vandalizing vehicles if they see cameras mounted on them. Additionally, reckless drivers may think twice before engaging in dangerous driving behaviors such as tailgating or cutting off other drivers when they know their actions are being recorded by a camera. By providing additional security measures and promoting safer driving habits, using a dash cam ultimately makes the roads safer for everyone involved.

Different Types of Dash Cams Available

You might be surprised to find out that there are a variety of options when it comes to choosing a dash cam for your vehicle. One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want a single or dual camera setup. A single camera will only record what’s happening in front of your car, while a dual camera can capture both the front and rear views. Dual cameras are ideal if you want complete coverage or if you frequently drive in areas with high traffic volume.

Another decision you’ll need to make is whether you want your dash cam to be hidden or exposed. Hidden cameras are designed to blend seamlessly into your vehicle’s interior, so they won’t be visible from the outside. This can be helpful if you don’t want potential thieves to know that there’s a valuable device inside your car. Exposed cameras, on the other hand, are more visible but may provide better overall coverage since they can be positioned at various angles.

Ultimately, the type of dash cam you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Some people prefer a single camera setup because it’s less obtrusive than a dual system, while others opt for an exposed camera because it provides additional security measures. Consider factors like image quality, storage capacity, and ease of use when making your decision – these features can impact how effective your dash cam is at capturing footage in case of an accident or incident on the road.

dual dash cam
Dual dash cam

Features to Look for in a Dash Cam

When searching for a dash cam, it’s important to consider features like night vision, GPS tracking, and loop recording to ensure that you have the most comprehensive coverage possible. But what about the price range and video quality? These are also crucial factors to take into account when picking out a dash cam.

Price range is an important consideration because dash cams come in a wide variety of prices. You can find some models for as low as $20 or $30, while others can cost upwards of $300. Generally speaking, more expensive models tend to have better features and higher video quality. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to break the bank in order to get a good dash cam.

Speaking of video quality, this is another key aspect to keep in mind when choosing a dash cam. Look for one that has at least 1080p resolution so that you can capture clear footage of any incidents on the road. Some cameras even offer 4K resolution for ultra-crisp visuals. Remember: the whole point of having a dash cam is to provide evidence in case of an accident or other incident on the road, so make sure your camera can capture accurate and detailed footage.

Legal Considerations for Using a Dash Cam

It’s essential to be aware of the legal implications of using a dash cam, as there are certain restrictions and guidelines that vary depending on your location. For instance, in some states or countries, recording audio without the consent of all parties involved is illegal. Thus, it’s crucial to research and understand the privacy laws in your area before setting up a dash cam.

Moreover, while having footage from a dash cam can help you with insurance claims and even prevent fraud, it’s important to note that some insurance companies may not accept footage as evidence. Additionally, if you’re involved in an accident where someone else is at fault and they notice your dash cam recording them, they might try to argue against its use on privacy grounds.

Therefore, it’s best to consult with both legal experts and insurance providers about any potential legal concerns or insurance implications before installing a dash cam. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you’re fully aware of any risks or limitations associated with using this technology while also protecting yourself from any legal action or disputes relating to privacy concerns or insurance coverage.

Installing and Using Your Dash Cam

Get ready to start using your new dash cam and capture every moment of your road trips, while feeling confident and secure behind the wheel. Before you start using it, make sure that you have chosen the right mounting options for your dash cam. You can either attach it to your windshield or dashboard depending on what works best for you.

Once you have mounted your dash cam, it’s time to set up the recording settings. Make sure that the date and time are correct as this will help in case an accident occurs. Also, check if the resolution is set to high quality so that you can get clear footage of any incidents on the road.

Before hitting the road, always double-check if your dash cam is properly installed and functioning well. It’s also important to regularly check and save any recordings in case they might be needed in the future. With these simple steps, you can now confidently hit the road knowing that every moment is being captured by your trusty dash cam.

Mounting your dash cam

Final Thoughts: Is a Dash Cam Right for You?

Now that you know how to install and use your dash cam, it’s time to decide whether or not a dash cam is right for you. The cost benefit of owning a dash cam can vary depending on your personal preferences and circumstances.

For some, the peace of mind that comes with having footage of any potential accidents or incidents may outweigh the cost of purchasing and installing a dash cam. However, if you rarely drive or have never experienced an accident, investing in a dash cam may not be necessary for you.

Ultimately, the decision to buy a dash cam is up to your personal preferences and needs. Consider factors such as your driving habits and insurance coverage before making a final decision. A dash cam can provide valuable evidence in case of an accident but may not be worth the investment for everyone.


So, is a dash cam right for you? Ultimately, that depends on your personal preferences and driving habits. If you frequently drive in busy or high-risk areas, a dash cam can provide peace of mind and potentially save you from costly legal battles in case of an accident.

Consider the benefits and features outlined above when deciding which type of dash cam to purchase. And remember to always follow legal guidelines when using your device. With proper installation and use, a dash cam can be a valuable tool for any driver looking to protect themselves on the road.

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