01/11/2017 - The AA - Dash Cams - Game Changer?:
The comedian George Carlin once said that when you’re out on the road, everyone driving slower than you is an idiot and everyone driving faster is a maniac. It was a joke, obviously, but there’s some truth in it: in the car, we’re not always the best judge of our own behaviour. Sometimes we think we’re the best drivers in the world and the only problem is, well - everyone else. But can that always be the case?
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What’s a dash cam?
A dash cam is a small camera mounted on the dashboard or windscreen of your car, facing the road. You can also have front and rear dash cams. They turn on when you start the engine and record your entire journey. Dash cam videos can be timestamped in a way that’s tamper-proof, making them a great source of evidence for any kind of road incident. In Russia, for example, they’ve proved very popular as protection against corrupt police officers and insurance fraudsters.
Can I use dash cam videos in an insurance claim?
Interest in dash cams is growing quickly in the UK. In a recent poll of our Members, over half said they were seriously considering buying one. Dash cam videos are now accepted by a growing number of insurance providers – including us – as evidence in claims.
Dash cam footage can help police combat problems like road rage or texting at the wheel more effectively. These incidents are easier to report when there’s a clear image of the licence plate in question.
Dash cams may also help us become better drivers simply just by being there. There’s a lot of research that suggests we behave less selfishly when we think someone will see us. This may be particularly relevant in the context of driving, where anything that helps us think twice should lead to safer roads for everyone.
Can dash cams make driving safer?
Britain’s roads have been transformed by safety technologies. Inventions such as seatbelts, airbags and breathalysers – many of which weren't exactly welcomed when they first arrived – have helped bring about a remarkable decline in road accidents in recent decades. According to 2015 government statistics, road fatalities in Britain fell by 68% in the last 30 years, despite the fact that the population has grown by 15%. And even the pace of improvement is improving: there were 45% fewer fatalities in 2015 than just a decade earlier in 2006.
Most people tend to be a bit harder on other drivers than they are on themselves. It’s just human nature. So is it any harm to be reminded, every now and again, that we might – just might – be capable of making the occasional mistake ourselves?
Dash cams could help keep the roads safe by encouraging a little self-awareness among good drivers – which is most of us – while we keep an eye out for those less self aware than ourselves. To put it another way, dash cams might just help us look out for each other.