What to Know Before Buying a Dash Cam

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What to Know Before Buying a Dash Cam

dash cam

Highways, interstates, main streets; roads can be extremely dangerous – and it seems like they’re becoming even more so every day. Each year, millions of car accidents occur on American roadways. With people in a rush to get wherever they’re going, cell phones, and other distractions, it’s no wonder why roads have become so perilous. No matter how cautious you may be, there’s really nothing you can do to control the actions of other drivers. In addition to the dangers that are associated with driving, there are also rising incidents of careless pedestrians, carjackings, and even criminals pretending that they’re law enforcement officials and pulling people over. Read on to learn how a dash cam can protect you in certain instances.

What to Know Before Buying a Dash Cam

You simply just don’t know what could happen every time you get behind the wheel of your car. Being able to document whatever incidents may occur can be a real lifesaver. With a dash cam, you can do just that!

This is true whether you’re commuting for work or taking a cross-country trip. In the event that you’re involved in an incident while you’re on the road – a fender bender, a major collision, you’re the victim of a carjacking, or even an attempt at insurance fraud, capturing footage of the events that took place can be helpful.

What’s a Dash Cam?

A dash cam (dashboard camera) is an onboard digital video camera that records footage as you drive. As the name suggests, the high-quality video and audio recording devices are positioned on the dashboard of your vehicle. When the dash cam is turned on, it starts recording the view through the windshield of your vehicle. Some dash cam models can also record views from the rearview window, passenger windows, as well as the interior of the vehicle.

From providing first-hand video footage evidence of any incidents that may occur to preventing insurance fraud, a dash cam can provide a number of benefits. Whether you’re thinking about investing in one for yourself or someone else, you’re going to find that there’s no shortage of dash cams on the market to choose from. While having options is always a good thing, it can also make choosing a dash cam overwhelming. If you aren’t sure where to start or what you should be looking for, we have all the information you need to make the most informed decision.

Factors To Consider When Shopping for a Dash Cam

Field of View

A dash cam’s field of view refers to how wide of an area the camera can see. The field of view can vary significantly from dash cam to dash cam. Although a dash cam that has a wide field of view will allow you to see and record more of what’s going around you, there is a caveat.

The wider the field of view, the more spread out the pixels will be. This will negatively impact the image quality/video resolution. Oftentimes, manufacturers offer little – if any – information about their camera’s field of view. Therefore, looking for screenshots of footage from the model you are thinking about buying can be helpful.


The resolution affects the clarity of the images a dashboard camera captures, and is indicated by the number of vertical pixels in an image. For instance, a camera that has a 2160p camera has 2,160 vertical pixels. Typically, the more pixels, the better, as more pixels translate to better resolution or clearer images. A minimum of 1080p resolution is recommended, though higher would be even better.

Frame Rates

The frame rate on the average dash cam is 30 frames per second (fps). For the vast majority of individuals, this is sufficient. However, there are also cameras that have frame rates of up to 60 fps. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the video capture will be.

Low Light Vision

In order to capture any incidents that occur during poor weather or at night, you’ll also want to consider a dash cam with low light or night vision capabilities. If a dash cam isn’t equipped with night vision, it will be pretty much useless when the lighting is poor or at night. However, with a dash cam that features night vision, you’ll be able to capture images even when it’s dark outside.

Final Thoughts

A full HD dash cam that stores video files on a MicroSD card can be an excellent investment for a variety of reasons. Some dashboard cameras will even offer a parking mode. This great feature will save videos to a memory card when you aren’t driving your car. For example, you can turn on parking mode on your dash camera before running into a store.

No matter the reason you’re purchasing a dash cam, to ensure you make the right choice, take the above-mentioned factors into consideration.

Additional Information: Does having a dashcam lower insurance? – Progressive

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