Why should I be using a dash cam?
You can get into your car without your pants on, but never get into a car without a dash cam (Aleksei Dozorov, Russia motorists' rights activist)
In countries like Russia, dash cams are pretty much mandatory for insurance reasons, but in other parts of the world, they're not as commonly used. This is unfortunate, because dash cams have quite a number of practical purposes!
Whether you're someone who drives short distances for your daily commute or you're planning an epic cross-country road trip, installing a dash cam in your car can save you a lot of grief and change your driving perspective.
- Catch dumb & dangerous drivers in the act
- Helicopter parent without obviously helicopter parenting
- Film your road trip shenanigans like a pro
- The potential for viral internet fame
- Dash cam? More like security cam
Catch dumb & dangerous drivers in the act
Probably the most obvious use for a dash cam is catching dangerous or reckless drivers on the road — AKA WATCH OUT, JERK DRIVERS: THE DASH CAM'S COMIN' FOR YA'.
Whether you've gotten into an accident with another car, witnessed a horrifically violent case of road rage, or even spot a far-off accident happen from your car, a dash cam has your back and eliminates the whole 'he said she said' thing by providing video evidence.
Dash cams can pick up on information your brain might have been too distracted to notice — like license plates in case of a hit and run, or what someone was wearing if they got scrappy with you and took off during a road rage incident.
Helicopter parent without obviously helicopter parenting
When I first got my license, I took my mom's car out for a spin — literally. I spun off on a dirt road going nearly 70 km/h and slid into a ditch. Luckily for me, nothing was damaged and I didn't have any broken bones, so I gathered myself, stopped screaming, and pulled back onto the road.
Obviously my mom noticed that something was up (largely because I had left the sunroof open and clods of dirt had sailed into the car as I spun out in circles) but could you imagine if there had been dash cam footage? She not only would have grounded my sorry self promptly, but also would have reviewed the footage, figure out where I went wrong, and explain to me why you couldn't turn onto a dirt road at that speed.
Helicopter parenting may not be the coolest thing in the world, but making sure your kid is getting safely from point A to point B when they have a fancy-shmancy new license is smart and plain good parenting.
Heck, you could even use dash cam videos available online to show your kid what and what not to do before getting behind the wheel of a car — and even threaten that you'll post their dash cam drama online if they can't follow your in-car rules!
Film your road trip shenanigans like a pro
Ever been on a road trip and all you can think when you look out the window is "... Huh. This would make a really great looking movie"? Use a dash cam, and you can turn yourself into a director extraordinaire!
Simply record long stretches of highway through the desert or the winding, bustling streets of New York City. Drive through a car wash in a small town, or go through as many strange drive-thrus as possible, and then park your park and have a picnic nearby, or hop into a pond for a dip with your friends, or have a dance party in abandoned town as you travel across the country.
Keep your dash cam filming through your entire road trip and you'll be sure to have unique and valuable footage you would have never thought to capture with your iPhone or DSLR camera.
In Better Call Saul, two teenage boys try to pull a con over on Saul by jumping in front of his car and claiming he hit them while they were skateboarding. Luckily for Saul, he's a super slick con man and knows the trick like the back of his hand, but don't let this become reality: You could be taken for a ride if some idiot decides to bunny hop in front of your Dodge Bronco for a quick buck.
Fraud isn't super common, but when it happens, it can quickly turn into a he-said-she-said situation. Witnesses can be unreliable, and without any tangible evidence, it'll be your word against theirs and vice versa.
Save yourself the grief and pick up a dash cam so you won't have to worry about people taking advantage of you or anyone who drives your car. The last thing you want is for your 16-year-old kid or grandmother to deal with those kinds of clowns.
The potential for viral internet fame
If this is the first time you've ever heard of dash cams before, I can guarantee this isn't the first time you've seen footage from one. Take these classic internet gems:
If you're looking to get a lil' slice of internet fame and potentially film the next viral sensation, keep your dash cam rolling as you drive through your city. You never really know what sort of weird, whacky, terrifying, bizarre, or wonderful thing might happen that could get you featured on some clip show like Tosh.0 or even the local news.
Better yet, compile every single weird and strange thing you've seen on your dash cam and have a 'weird dash cam movie night' with your buddies to see who's captured the most eyebrow-raising footage. Winner gets the last slice of pizza!
Dash cam? More like security cam
While not all dash cams have this ability, some can record without your car being on for long periods of time — including the evenings. This is perfect if you live in a rough neighborhood, have been experiencing vandalism or harassment, or just want to keep an eye on your garage and surroundings if people are creeping about.
Plenty of people have taken to installing doorbells with cameras in them, or even straight-up security cameras around their homes to keep an eye on things. Chances are that some burglars and crooks are hip to these modern booby-traps and know how to avoid them, but not many would be avoiding the windshield of your car if they're trying to break in your house.
The best/worst/best/worst part? If a crook decides to steal your vehicle while you're recording, you're bound to get some juicy details and info on the perp and where they're headed. Who knows – you might even capture a super epic car chase that'll get you a few million views online! (Before you judge me, it's called looking for a silver lining, mmmmkay?)
Would you ever use a dash cam?
Would you ever pick up a dash cam? Why or why not? Let us know how you feel about the internet's favorite hidden-camera in the comments below!