One of my newest toys – and it’s admittedly very much a toy – is an Anker Roav C1 dashcam.
What’s a Dashcam?
If you’re unfamiliar with the technology, dashcams are car-mounted video cameras that record everything, all the time. They typically mount via adhesive to the windshield and plug into the power connector in the vehicle.
Here’s a sample of part of my morning commute (YouTube video):
The moment you turn on your vehicle, the dashcam begins making video recordings of what happens and stores them to an internal memory card. As time goes by, it erases the oldest video to make room for the newest one.
Dashcams are quite popular in Europe, and becoming more popular in the United States.
Why a Dashcam?
The primary use-case for a dashcam is quite simple: if you’re in a front-end collision (which typically means it’s your fault in most states), a dashcam video provides concrete evidence of the moments up to the collision. For example, suppose you were making a turn and another vehicle hit the front right corner of your car.
Under most circumstances, that’s probably your fault, and your insurance will take the brunt of the claims costs. In turn, your premiums go up.
Now, suppose you had a video of the collision, in which it showed you made the appropriate turn signal and due diligence, but the other vehicle’s driver was on their smartphone and didn’t see you until it was too late.
In a case like that, fault might revert to the other driver because they were (at least in some regions) violating hands-free driving laws. Their insurance would take the brunt of the blame instead.
Other Reasons for Dashcams
If you live in a less-safe area, having an always-on video camera might be useful if you witness an incident but weren’t able to stop. You’d simply offload the footage to your police department once you were safe.
More positively, it’s unsafe to take photos with a smartphone while driving, and could be illegal based on your region’s driving laws. However, we see things all the time when we’re driving that we want to remember, from great sunrises to fun roadside attractions. Having a dashcam with a lot of memory means that after the driving is done, we can just pop into the video archives and retrieve video of interesting moments.
What I Bought
I bought the Anker Roav C1 Dashcam from Amazon along with a 64 GB Sandisk Micro-SD card. So far I’m thrilled with it – it’s easy to use, the mobile app is reasonably good, and the video quality is excellent. While I hope never to need it for the primary use-case, I do expect to shoot some great sunrises and roadside attractions with it.
Disclosure: all product links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Should you purchase something, I receive a very small commission.
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Also published on Medium.