Over the past few months, dashcams have been at the center of discussions on automobile safety. During the hullaballoo surrounding the Anti-Distracted Driving Act earlier this year, these nifty car cameras ended up embroiled in the controversy after some lawmakers (and members of the public alike) thought they too were distractions and should be covered by the act.
A properly placed dashcam is not a distraction but can actually benefit the driving public. In recognition of this, Congress filed House Bill No. 6265 on September. The act will make it mandatory for all car manufacturers to fit their cars with dashcams.
Whether we like it or not, dashcams are now part of the public consciousness. It’s always good to record everything from the moment you turn on your engine to the time you safely park at home.
Here are several reasons you should go to your nearest car accessory shop and grab a dashcam ASAP.
1. They do more than just record
The main purpose of a dashcam is to, well, record everything you can see from your dashboard. The first batch of these car cameras were nothing but crude black boxes with a record button and a tiny screen, but they have evolved over the past few years.
Some units, like the Junsun Dual Lens Rearview Mirror Car Camera we talked about in one of our previous articles, also function as a rearview mirror, a GPS, and an Android device capable of downloading some essential apps like Waze, gMeter, and other drive-assist software. Just don’t use your dashcam to chat with someone while on the road (it’s prohibited).
2. They can act as a deterrent to crime
Are you still one of the many Filipinos who own a car yet don’t have a garage? As annoying as this is, since you take up some precious road space, it’s no reason for anyone to gloat if your car is wrecked by vandals.
Here is a tip for you, if you have a dashcam that can record all night, with a wide field of view and a rear camera feature, your car will be a less tempting target. Some dashcams also have a night vision mode, the better to record and catch who approaches your car in the dark.
3. They are useful as parking assistants
Your usual “parking boy” can be helpful when you’re in a busy area and you have no choice but to parallel park. Unfortunately, they’re not everywhere, and as a responsible driver, you need to know how to park without denting your bumpers. If you really suck at parking, try using a dashcam.
As we mentioned above, some dashcam units have a rear camera unit and this can be used to see how close you are to the vehicle behind you. They even have augmented reality parking assist lanes that will help you with the alignment.
We know some cars already come with this, but for units that are not fitted with parking assist modes, getting a dashcam is the next best thing.
4. They expedite the insurance claim process
Let’s say you get in a fender bender with another motorist and you need to prove to the insurance company that you’re not the one at fault. That can be hard to do it without recorded evidence.
Without video surveillance, drivers will just bicker, the police will not get anything from the parties involved, and nothing will ever get resolved. Well, everything changes when and if you have a dashcam that was recording everything.
Having recorded footage of the incident will speed things up for the insurers, allowing them to easily pinpoint who’s to blame. A dashcam recording everything is also useful in certain other scenarios (riots, acts of nature, and own-fault incidents).
5. They prevent corruption
Are you tired of the same old bull where traffic authorities scare you with a ticket if you don’t cough up some cash?
With a dashcam, this can be easily solved since the names and faces of those who stopped you can be recorded. This will make any crooked enforcers think twice about asking you for money.
Think they have the power to make you stop your recording? Think again. Since your car is private property, they cannot force you to stop a recording or erase the footage.
The enforcer is in a public place and is supposed to be carrying out his public functions, so you are not violating any privacy laws.
6. They save you from fraudsters
In some countries like Russia, one of the main reason all vehicles have dashcams is fraud protection.
In some cases, people will intentionally throw themselves in front of a moving vehicle to extort a driver for cash. Unfortunately, this rampant act of desperation is also prevalent in the Philippines.
Since you will now be recording everything that happens to your car, it will be easy to dismiss the claims of con artists.
See the video below for instance. Without a recorded evidence, the chances of getting out of this scenario without paying are slimmer.
7. They provide you with awesome footage
Sometimes, dashcams aren’t just for your safety. There are times when you’re perfectly safe and others are just, well, unlucky enough to get into a bizarre accident.
Remember that video where a driver went against traffic and sent a motorcycle driver doing some sick backflips in Benguet? Caught on dashcam! Road rage by some entitled driver? Now showing on YouTube! The maintenance guys who played with the cars they were supposed to be fixing? Thousands of Facebook shares.
It is bad to take advantage of other people’s misery, but in this day and age where everything is shared, do it for the likes. Make yourself feel good with virtual thumbs up from your online friends. Do it for the Vine, as the old kids used to say.