If you’ve ever experienced a car crash, you know how stressful and upsetting it can be for a driver. Even without serious injuries or worse, the situation is typically troublesome. Dealing with law enforcement, traffic court, insurance companies and collision repairers is no one’s idea of a fun time. And if you’re not at fault in causing an accident, you may still have to commit significant time and resources to dealing with its consequences.
A dash cam could help. This compact and lightweight video camera—designed specifically for documenting your drive—is a simple and affordable way to help you in the aftermath of an accident. We installed and tested the Pilot HD Dash Cam available from NAPA AUTO PARTS to see how it works. In the process, we discovered it could be helpful not only in the case of an accident but in everyday driving, too.
Installing the dash cam took less than five minutes. A suction cup mount secures it to the windshield and the 12-volt power adapter plugs into the vehicle’s outlet. Start the car and the dash cam powers on. We spent another five minutes setting the time and date and browsing the video setting menus. The process was quick and easy.
Included with the unit is a micro SD card to store the video recordings or still photos (depending on the setting you choose.) Once the card reaches its memory capacity, the dash cam loops back and starts recording over the previous video.
So how can you be certain the video you need will not get deleted? You can manually lock the recording with the push of a button, but get your settings right and you won’t have to. The G-shock mode automatically locks a video into memory when the sensor in the dash cam detects the force of an impact.
In addition to preparing you and your vehicle for the unfortunate circumstances of a collision, below are six more reasons to use a dash cam.
Traffic Ticket Witness
The men and women in uniform that enforce our traffic laws are not perfect. Drivers can—and do—receive tickets for offenses they did not commit or could reasonably argue as unwarranted. In such situations, video proof could be your ally.
Traffic cops cannot be everywhere at once. Your viewpoint, or the view from your dash cam, may provide some evidence that sheds new light on a situation.
Teen Drivers & New Drivers
A dash cam is a good educational tool for new drivers. If you have a teen driver or other new driver in your household, consider a dash cam to improve their driving skills while providing a watchful eye.
Protecting young drivers and their passengers is important; crash rates for inexperienced drivers are significantly higher than for those with more miles under their belts. The message from parents can be a simple one: safety, not spying. Even if parents never play videos back, drivers who know their actions are being recorded may be more inclined to use caution and avoid dangerous behavior like speeding or texting while driving.
The Shop Truck
Business owners and managers that use vehicles to get the job done can add a layer of protection with a dash cam for the company car or truck. As with teen drivers, employee drivers may be encouraged to drive carefully with a dash cam in place.
The liability factor with business vehicles is a great reason to use a dash cam, too. Even if your employee is at fault in a crash, video evidence could help support an argument that the driver practiced safe driving and was not negligent in his or her actions leading up to the incident.
Your dash cam could help others out, too. If you spot an erratic driver but missed the vehicle type or license plate number, the information recorded by your dash cam could help you alert authorities.
Most of us have witnessed crashes of other vehicles, too. Your video could provide evidence to help law enforcement as well as crash victims.
Studies show most Americans think they’re great drivers. Is it true? Can we all be above average behind the wheel?
No, but even the best drivers among us could probably do even better. Just as the presence of a dash cam could influence a teen driver or an employee wheeling the company truck, it can help experienced drivers to become more conscious of their own driving patterns. With your dash cam watching, you may be inclined to break bad habits like following too closely or weaving through traffic.
Fireball in the Sky
Occasionally, spectacular things happen around us. Witnessing a rare fireball hurdling across Earth’s atmosphere is highly unlikely, but dash cams often record exciting moments, traffic-related or otherwise. Just search YouTube for hours of crazy dash cam clips. If your dash cam records something out of the ordinary, you can share it with the world.
Check out all the electrical parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on a dash cam system for your vehicle, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.