If there is a trend in spare parts accessories, it is dashcams. Their use is completely regulated by law in the UK, unlike some countries in Europe. But this does not detract from their popularity – dashcams are a big hit in the accessories trade.
In Russia, the small additional cameras on the windscreen gained enormous popularity because with these tiny, incorruptible witnesses, the rampant corruption among police officers could finally be stopped. What the dashcam records is recognised in Russian courts. In this country, dashcam recordings are at least admissible as evidence.
What is a dashcam?
The word “dashcam” is made up of “dash” and “camera“. They are very small but powerful video cameras that record virtually all the time. The length of the recording depends on the desired quality and the size of the memory card.
What works and what works not
Dashcams record for as long as their memory card can hold. As a rule, this is 3-6 hours. After this time, the recording starts again and everything that was previously recorded is deleted.
From a purely legal point of view, this is questionable: it is actually forbidden to record other road users for hours on end.
However, who will know that? If you don’t spread it by posting it publicly on a video platform or social network, the privately shot video can certainly be used.
Of course, the dashcam can also be perfectly used for recording a long trip. However, if the video is then to be published, it must be edited. This includes making all faces and number plates that were filmed on the way unrecognisable.
In the event of personal accident, the dashcam can be used as evidence. If it is to be used primarily for this purpose, the recording time should be set as short as possible. An accident situation does not arise half an hour beforehand. A time window of 5 minutes is therefore completely sufficient to use the dashcam’s witness function.
What is definitely prohibited, however, is the arbitrary recording of people. Even if a crime was filmed with it, the dashcam recording is not admissible as evidence. Simply filming and reporting other road users is not possible with a dashcam.
Instead, you risk a hefty fine for violating the personal rights.
A dashcam can do even more
A dashcam does not necessarily only have to record. High-quality devices have a night vision function, for example. This can provide additional safety on poorly lit roads by detecting obstacles on the road beforehand.
However, it cannot replace the headlight, of course. Its use as a night driving camera is ideal when combined with a head-up display. With this innovative feature, the dashcam image is projected onto the windscreen.
Of course, the Head-Up Display can also be perfectly combined with the speedometer or the navigation device. This makes the dashcam an interesting additional feature for a modern and innovative display panel on the car.
Perfect with rear-view camera
Modern cars boast high-strength bodyworks that offer maximum occupant protection. But the double thick A, B and C pillars come at a price: they turn the windows into almost real loopholes. This is specifically true of the rear window.
Especially in the heavy SUVs, where it is becoming a slit through which a driver can hardly see what is happening behind the car. The rear-view camera is a remedy here. With this practical and convenient feature, the driver does not even need to turn the head to see the scenery behind the car. The display of the rear-view camera is shared with the dashcam.
Worthwhile installation for enthusiasts
There are also cheap solutions for dashcams. E.g. attaching them to the windscreen with a suction cup and wiring them to the cigarette lighter.
The only problem is that such a tangle of cables is not very attractive. So, if you want to equip your car with a dashcam, you should invest a little more time and patience in the project – it’s worth it when everything is installed correctly.
Cables can be hidden under the covers of the pillars, the door strips or the headlining. The manufacturers’ kits offer detailed installation instructions for this, ranging from the ideal place for the dashcam to the perfect power connection. In professional solutions, the dashcam is usually wired to the fuse box.
However, wiring the camera for the rear is a challenge. The power connection is not the problem, as there are enough connection options for the rear-view camera at the rear part as well. What makes wiring to the front necessary is the signal line to the driver’s display.
But there is a clever solution for this: high-quality sets come with wireless signal transmission from the rear to the front. The image is simply transmitted via radio signal or Bluetooth from the camera at the rear to the display at the front. These solutions are, of course, much more expensive. But they save a lot of work.
The perfect display
Anyone who uses their smartphone as a navigation device can tell a thing about the fiddly holders for mobile phones. These solutions are cheap but also not very practical or attractive. Likewise, many dashcam displays are anything but visually appealing, especially when they come with plenty of cable clutter.
However, there is a solution that perfectly combines rear-view camera, dashcam and display: the rear-view mirror.
This simple component can be replaced by a combination device that can do everything: In addition to the conventional mirror function, the display rear-view mirrors have a divisible monitor that is invisible when not in use. When in use, however, it becomes correspondingly large and fills the entire rear-view mirror when needed. With this solution, the driver has a perfect view to the rear – and to the front.
Those who opt for a display rear-view mirror today, have access to particularly convenient solutions: The dashcam for the view ahead is often already installed in the rear-view mirrors – and the radio connection for the rear camera is also prepared.
If you think something like this cost a fortune, you’re in for a surprise: These all-in-one solutions are available for as little as 30 pounds. Of course, the quality rises quickly with the price you are willing to pay.
All in all, however, the upgrade with these immensely practical features is no longer a piece of luxury for millionaires.
Foto: Marco Rubino, Golden Sikorka, jpreat, iChzigo, andy0man, bioraven, ET1972, Monika Wisniewska, BLACKDAY, socrates471, rumruay, Bocharoff / shutterstock.com