What is a Dash Cam, and how do they work?

2nd June 2017

What is a dash cam?

A dash cam is a small, windscreen-mounted, in-car camera recording everything in front and in some instances the rear of a driver. It can be a motorist’s independent witness when involved in an incident, while also saving motorists money on their insurance.

Most dash cams also feature Parking Mode, which can record incidents and act as a deterrent against theft and damage whilst you’re away from your vehicle.

If you’ve captured an incident which you wish to formally report, you can now submit dash cam footage to the Police via our National Dash Cam Safety Portal.

How does a dash cam work?

A dash cam is mounted onto the windscreen and records the road when you are driving. It’s powered via the cigarette lighter cable or can be hardwired into the fuse box. The dash cam starts recording automatically when the ignition key is turned. It records on a continuous loop, with each clip filmed on a short 3-minute segment onto a micro SD card.

Should I get a Dash Cam?

Dash Cams can bring many benefits to its users as many insurers are now offering annual discounts of up to 20% for drivers who use a dash cam which can be substantial with higher premiums.

Other reasons to get a dash cam include:

  • Protect your No Claims Discount
  • Protection whilst parked with Parking Mode
  • Tackle Crime and Bad Motorists
  • Resolve disputes from incidents quicker
  • Encourages better driving

Are dashboard cameras legal in the UK?

Using a dashboard camera is legal in the UK if it does not restrict the drivers view and is not used to intrude upon someone’s privacy. If you’re a taxi or private hire driver, it is advised to keep sound recording muted to avoid any breaches of personal privacy.

Do dash cams record at night?

All dash cams record at night, but as light levels get low, certain technologies like WDR and HDR really help to create a significantly improved clarity in night vision.

If you do a lot of driving at night, then we would recommend looking at dash cams that have the latest Sony EXMOR sensors for ultimate night vision and enhanced picture quality.

Do dash cams work when parked?

Yes, dash cams can be used when your vehicle is parked. In order to record when you’re not driving your dash cam will need power from a hardwire installation or from its battery if it has Intelligent parking mode.

The Nextbase 412GW models and above have intelligent parking mode that means that a full hardwire installation is not required to record when parked. These models detect when your car is bumped in the car park and automatically record at this point.

Where is dash cam footage stored?

Dash cam footage is recorded onto a micro SD card. When this card is full the camera will automatically loop and record over the oldest 3-minute file.

Footage can be transferred onto a computer, phone or tablet & stored permanently. All our dash cams record high quality footage to protect you and your vehicle and offers peace of mind whilst out on the road.

What happens to dash cam footage after an accident?

Dash cams are fitted with sensors that detect crash impact. If you have an accident, any recording leading up to this point is saved and the files are automatically “locked” so they cannot be overwritten.

Types of dash cams

Nextbase offers a range of award winning dash cams ranging from £49 to £249.99, with the very latest technologies, including:

  • Single Lens
  • This is mounted to the front windscreen, recording high quality footage from the front of the vehicle.

  • Dual Lens
  • Some dash cams like the Nextbase Duo HD have two lenses, one to record the front, the other has a 50m zoom lens to record the rear of the vehicle.

  • Motorbike Dash Cam
  • Nextbase RIDE is specifically designed for motorbike riders with a RAM mounting system to mount onto any bike.

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