At some point, we’ve all sat and watched with wide-eyed fascination as another dash cam clip uploaded to Youtube reveals a spectacular display of bad driving from people who, well, just shouldn’t be allowed on the road.
As a tradesman, however, a dash camera can do much more for you than simply help you bag five minutes of Youtube superstardom. Used correctly, this incredibly helpful piece of tech could well prove to be the best investment you make, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road.
Here, we explain exactly what dash cameras do, how they work, and why you should consider installing one in your van as soon as possible.
How do dash cams work?
Remember the days when determining who was at fault in a traffic incident came down to your word against theirs? Without any clear evidence, insurance companies hoping to avoid a payout could – and would – argue that their client was not to blame, creating a legal nightmare that could go on for months.
All the while, you’d be left with a van that simply wasn’t fit for purpose and no way of paying to get back on the road, potentially resulting in a loss of earnings and all kinds of long-term problems.
Since the invention of the dash camera, those days are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Attached to the inside of your van, the camera records a driver’s-eye-view of the road in front of you, constantly capturing short clips that can serve as evidence should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision.
A tradesman’s best friend
After taxi drivers and those in the delivery trade, few professionals spend as much time behind the wheel as tradesmen. Day in, day out, you’re on the road in a van that is more than just another vehicle, but a tool every bit as vital to your trade as the ones you pick up when you get to that next job.
So, whether you become involved in a legitimate accident or fall victim to any number of ‘cash for crash’ scams,’ should something happen to your van, you need to get it -or its replacement- up and running as quickly as possible.
That’s to say nothing of the impact on your livelihood of falsely being found to be at fault and your license taken from you.
It’s for both these reasons that a dash cam could well prove to be your best friend, providing evidence that proves who was at fault in any given incident and speeding up the time it takes to settle insurance claims.
Improve your driving
Naturally, a dash camera can also prove if you are at fault too. If you think about it, this can only be a good thing.
After all, it means you’re more likely to take better care behind the wheel to avoid being caught on camera doing something dangerous, and who could argue against that?
From top of the range to a tap of your phone
The good news is that no matter what your budget, there’s a dash camera out there to suit you.
At the top end of the spectrum, we’re talking slick, 4K ultra HD cameras with a whole host of next-generation features for capturing, storing, and organising clips.
Prefer keeping a tighter hold on your wallet?
Dash cam apps are available for both Android and Apple devices. Simply download and use your phone’s camera features to record as you drive.
On the one hand, free dash camera apps may sound like a good idea for budget-conscious tradesmen. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that not only will the video quality be poorer than with a stand-alone camera, but that you’ll also need to consider the amount of battery life and storage space that will be eaten up.
If your budget will allow, a high-quality dash cam will prove to be a worthwhile investment, allowing you to capture crisp, clear footage that can better capture small details such as number plates, even when it’s dark or the weather is bad.
Buying your first dash cam
Where possible, look for a dash cam with a 1080p and a minimum frame rate of 60 fps (Frames Per Second) in order to capture the clearest possible footage.
Some garages and specialist auto retailers will professionally fit your dash camera free of charge providing you buy it from them, or may offer to do it for a small fee. This could be well worth the investment to ensure a clean, tidy installation, even more so if the installer can show you how to use it too.
If you spend a lot of time parked on the road, opt for a dash camera with a motion-sensor operated “Park Mode” which automatically turns the camera on if something hits your van whilst you’re parked up.
Whether buying or downloading a dash camera, ensure that it is capable of noting the time, date, and location of any incident.
Are you planning on investing in a dash cam? Which models are you looking into? Maybe you already own one, if so, we’d love to hear from you about what kind of benefits it’s had on your work. Let us know in the comments below or get involved on Facebook and Twitter.