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Old 08-20-2016, 12:28 AM   #1
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Dashcam: Good insurance, or just another doodad?

I was stopped at a red light in our town this week when a pickup truck roared up from behind on my left, narrowly missed my fender as he cut across in front of me, turned right with squealing tires, and went about 200 feet before taking a sharp left across two lanes and into a strip-mall parking lot.

This experience got me thinking about dashcams.

Besides collecting evidence that could get a jerk like that convicted if, say, he had maimed or killed a pedestrian with his dumb move, it could have saved me a lot of money if he had clipped my truck as he went by. The government insurance corporation in BC likes to save cash by splitting the blame for collisions, even when one party is 100% at fault. Dashcam footage has foiled their plans in several recent cases.

Is anyone driving with a dashcam running, either all the time or selectively? If so, has it been helpful in any way? Also, can anyone recommend a dashcam make and model that renders a clear image without much fuss or expense?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:12 AM   #2
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I installed an inexpensive one this year before we set off for Baja. It's located in the upper right corner of the windshield. My wife's instructions, in the event of a police stop, were to swivel it towards the driver's window to record the situation. Fortunately it wasn't required for that and all Mexican local border checks were pleasant.

We've used it on occasion like a GoPro to record something unexpectedly interesting. The video/photo quality is reasonable. Locally, if the traffic situation starts getting a little crazy I flip it on, "just in case".

Ron
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Old 08-20-2016, 06:57 AM   #3
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All I know if I install anymore electronic gadgetry in my tow vehicle I'll have to apply for a pilots license. Between I phones, IPads, CB weather radio, internet hot spot, internet radio, radar detector, I'm a rolling UFO. That said I believe in more congested areas these dash cams have their value.
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Old 08-20-2016, 07:05 AM   #4
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Have one that comes on when I start the truck. When I tried to turn it off and on it was always off when I needed it! $60 and works great. But.. When added to the back up camera, the tire tracker, the iPhone, there is a bit of real estate competition. We have captured some crazy driving situations!
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Old 08-20-2016, 07:39 AM   #5
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Hi: Catchlight... It's a sad world we live in. Worse if you feel the need to have a dash cam!!! Alf
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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Hi Catchlight
I must have seen the same news clip you did.
It seems like a good idea.
But I'm not sure we'll go out and buy anything.

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Old 08-20-2016, 09:05 AM   #7
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I bought a Magellan GPS that had a dashcam built-in. I had to stop using it because it had a microphone that I couldn't turn off. So the thing recorded me singing to myself, talking to myself, cursing other drivers, cursing in general, etc. It also recorded whatever was on the radio at the time. In some jurisdictions the thing might be illegal if I had passengers with me. I'd like to have a separate small dashcam to mount high on my windshield, but only if it has no microphone or one that I can control.
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Old 08-20-2016, 09:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
I had to stop using it because it had a microphone that I couldn't turn off. So the thing recorded me singing to myself, talking to myself, cursing other drivers, cursing in general, etc....
I can always count on this forum to provide me with my big laugh for the day.
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Old 08-20-2016, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
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but only if it has no microphone or one that I can control.
Tape over the microphone?
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:42 AM   #10
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Tape over the microphone?
Nah; that'll just make it sound like someone's trying to gag the 'singer'.
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:16 AM   #11
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Which might be a good thing


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Old 08-20-2016, 12:29 PM   #12
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imagine at some point gov with insurance company pressure will require dash cam in all new vehicles as std, perhaps the backup cam too if not already. Previous vehicle did not have backup camera or proximity sensors, but new one does and really like it since I have no idea where the rear of the truck crew cab + long bed is...of course this will only get more confusing with a trailer!... will get a lot more exercise parking in the remote areas at retail parking lots.
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Old 08-20-2016, 12:38 PM   #13
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I've observed two accidents where people in mall parking lots backed into one another, leaving their parking spaces. Both were moving, both were at fault. I'm filled with angst in mall lots and will get all the electronic help I can in my next vehicle ( if that ever comes ).
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:42 PM   #14
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Me too Karen!
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:50 PM   #15
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Is anyone driving with a dashcam running, either all the time or selectively? If so, has it been helpful in any way? Also, can anyone recommend a dashcam make and model that renders a clear image without much fuss or expense?
I was given a really cheap dashcam and tried using it, but the mount wasn't convenient and the quality was poor, but it was interesting to have. I was given a much better (1080HD resolution) and better-designed camera, and have been using it regularly.

Mine turns on when the power comes on because the ignition is turned on. It turns off automatically, after a delay. It can also be turned on manually. I would not use one without it automatically coming on, because I would never know when to turn it on; if you know a collision is coming, avoid it rather than turning on a camera and driving into it!

My biggest problem with usefulness is that I have been rear-ended more than once (writing off one car), and the dashcam would be more useful in those cases if it were facing rearward. There are dashcam units with dual cameras, but I would not record a rearward view from the dash position - a rear camera belongs in the rear window. On the other hand, even a front-facing camera would have confirmed that I was stopped (or stopping) at an appropriate point in the road (pedestrian crosswalks twice and red light once) and had not just moved in front of someone when I was rear-ended.

Any reasonable dashcam will just delete the oldest video file - but not those flagged as containing an incident - when the memory card fills up, so there's no reason to have it mounted and not have it recording.

My current unit is a Garmin Dash Cam 20. I don't know if I would particularly recommend it, due to some glitches in the software which comes with it, but it is small, easily mounted, and easy to use. It has both GPS and accelerometers in it, so it records a trace of where it it, the vehicle speed, and accelerations of the vehicle, which I like; the accelerometers also let it automatically identify incidents and flag the corresponding file to be saved, which is definitely a good feature.
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:53 PM   #16
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We've used it on occasion like a GoPro to record something unexpectedly interesting. The video/photo quality is reasonable.
I've done that retroactively - plug it into the computer at home to go back and find stuff that was interesting, to save (for a YouTube collection) or just to show my wife... of either stupid driving or just interesting things.

Mine has 1080 resolution, but the view is extremely wide so detail other than of very close objects is quite limited. Point-of-view action cameras (such as the GoPro) have wide views too, but I don't think they're as extreme.
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:54 PM   #17
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I bought a Magellan GPS that had a dashcam built-in. I had to stop using it because it had a microphone that I couldn't turn off. So the thing recorded me singing to myself, talking to myself, cursing other drivers, cursing in general, etc. It also recorded whatever was on the radio at the time. In some jurisdictions the thing might be illegal if I had passengers with me.
I haven't checked if my dashcam's audio recording can be turned off, but I wouldn't turn it off anyway. I can just mute the audio on any copy of the video I want to send anyone... and I wouldn't hand over the files to anyone without editing first except in exceptional circumstances.

I am not concerned about legal limitations on recording audio, because I can't imagine a restriction against recording someone with their knowledge - you get in my car, I tell you the dashcam records, and you decide whether you permit the recording or you walk.
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Old 08-20-2016, 02:09 PM   #18
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My current unit is a Garmin Dash Cam 20. I don't know if I would particularly recommend it, due to some glitches in the software which comes with it, but it is small, easily mounted, and easy to use. It has both GPS and accelerometers in it, so it records a trace of where it it, the vehicle speed, and accelerations of the vehicle, which I like; the accelerometers also let it automatically identify incidents and flag the corresponding file to be saved, which is definitely a good feature.
How difficult is it to connect this unit to power? I have a lighted vanity mirror in my driver's-side sun visor (yeah, like I need that) which I thought might be a good place to connect a dashcam to power if I mounted the dashcam to the upper left corner of the windshield. How did you power yours?

If my singing voice were better I wouldn't have been so annoyed with the Magellan. Geez.
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Old 08-20-2016, 04:23 PM   #19
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How difficult is it to connect this unit to power? I have a lighted vanity mirror in my driver's-side sun visor (yeah, like I need that) which I thought might be a good place to connect a dashcam to power if I mounted the dashcam to the upper left corner of the windshield. How did you power yours?.
I'm a little embarrased to admit that to date, the power source for my Dash Cam 20 is just the provided cord hanging straight down and plugged into a power socket at the base of the centre stack. Since my camera is mounted just to the right of the mirror, it is actually almost entirely hidden from the driver's view, and the cord not intrusive, although the camera might be visually annoying to a front-seat passenger and the cord is definitely a minor annoyance. I usually drive this car solo, so it doesn't matter much.

One item on the endless to-do list is to put a USB outlet in the area of the convenience lamps above the mirror, to use with a short cord to the dashcam. I would rather not hardwire in a cord (ending in the mini USB that the camera needs), because it would still be hanging there when the camera is removed (which I only do when parking in higher-risk locations).
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:20 PM   #20
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We have a DashCam in the truck, and I also have one in my Toyota Uber/Lyft Mobile.

The truck is a single camera that views out front. My Uber car has a dual camera, one looks out front, and the other looks inside at my passengers.

I put in stickers informing the passengers that video and audio recording is in progress (as required by law).
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