/ Motoring, Technology

Would you buy a dashboard camera for your car?

Car crash

Criminals are causing crashes on our roads in order to extort money from car insurers. Would you fit a camera to your car’s dashboard to protect yourself from ‘crash-for-cash’ scams?

Car insurance is one of the priciest parts of owning a car. Despite recent claims that premiums are lower than last year, they’re being pushed up by both uninsured drivers and criminals who’re staging accidents to make money from insurance companies.

Crash-for-cash scams hit the road

Crash-for-cash scams revolve around criminals slamming on their brakes without warning and causing innocent people driving behind to crash into them. The scammers then submit fraudulent insurance claims, covering everything from false whiplash claims, loss of earnings, as well as fake bills for the recovery of their car, repairs, vehicle storage and replacement car hire.

There have even been reports of criminals staging accidents by flashing their lights at other drivers to signal that they’re letting them out of junctions, to then deliberately drive into them. Also known as ‘flash-for-cash’ scams, this particular tactic has become popular due to the fact that it’s very hard for victims to prove that the scammers flashed them.

According to the Metropolitan Police, crash-for-cash scams reportedly cost insurers nearly £400m a year and could be adding an extra £50-100 to innocent drivers’ annual premiums.

Would you buy a car dashcam?

One way of protecting yourself against false claims is to fit a camera to your dashboard to film the road ahead. These cameras are already popular in countries like Russia where car insurance scams are common. Of course, ‘dashcams’ can also help you in legitimate accidents, as Ian Crowder of the AA explains:

‘They can be very helpful in the event of an accident to work out who was involved and who was to blame. Footage could be useful to support an insurance claim. The insurance industry would consider them to be a good thing.’

So, would you buy a dashcam to protect yourself on the road? And would it affect the way you drive if you knew that your driving was being filmed?

Would you buy a dashboard camera for your car?

Yes (59%, 632 Votes)

Maybe (22%, 237 Votes)

No (15%, 166 Votes)

I don't own a car (4%, 45 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,080

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Comments
Nikki says:
30 January 2014

We have had Roadhawk cameras in our vehicles for the last couple of years and they proved invaluable during an accident on M25 when a young girl hit the side of my husband’s car and proved beyond any doubt she was at fault. I would highly recommend them

Truckman says:
30 January 2014

I already have a front and rear camera fitted to my Santa Fae for the last 6 monthes or so..it is a excellent system (BackView) which i can transfer on to my Motorhome or any other vehicle..it has already proved its worth on several near misses where it would have been evidence on any blame game..i didnt take the decision lightly to buy this system but having been a HGV class 1 driver for over 50yrs and seeing the way the driving culture in this country is developing i decided it was a worthwhile investment

Jo Andrew says:
31 January 2014

Hi, Truckman, can you please tell us the name/ model no. of your system and where you purchased it. I like the idea of front and rear views. Do you have a reliable way of suctioning onto the windscreen? I worry that these cameras will not be able to film anything useful at night. Someone has mentioned the problem with sodium lights (which terrify me as they make all pedestrians turn black and invisible). Wouldn’t headlights just cause a glare on the film? And any internal reflections from the windscreen negate filming. I’d love motor manufacturers to build in a camera lens into the roof edge just above the windscreen, and on the back as well. If they can wire up reversing cameras from the bodywork roof cams should be a doddle. Then there would be no need to worry about theft, and removing and resticking them, only to remember to clean the lens before each trip. (Incidentally, a tip for driving into blinding low sun at this time of year is to always have a baseball type peaked cap in the car then you can wear a permanent visor which
you can swivel to block the sun rather than fiddling with your flap down visor which can be very dangerous. You can lower your head to peer out from under the peak to just see the road surface in when going slowly. No need to take a hand off the wheel to struggle with a troublesome fixed visor.)

Truckman says:
31 January 2014

Hi Jo
Sorry about some of my spelling as i was writing the article from memory…the model i bought was
the (BlackVue DR 550 gw-2ch duel dash cam)
This ib very simple to fit…even i could do it..the mounting bracket is a excellent product and uses
the same system as you would fix a rear view mirror to a windscreen with the camera very easy to
slip into the bracket and adjust
The front camera is mounted in front of rear view mirror so is well hidden from prying eyes..
Suggest you visit BlackVue dash cam web site who will explain it all better than i can..

Phil…ps…had this product approx 6 months

Hi all, I know a lot of you have been waiting for this – here are our dash-cam reviews: http://www.which.co.uk/technology/computing/reviews/dash-cams-and-in-car-cameras/ You can also find a report in the August 2014 issue of Which? magazine

And no mention in the review of the excellent Drift HD Ghost camera? Some review…

Maggz says:
30 August 2014

Such a shame Which didn’t consider how many people want a camera that will work while we aren’t in our cars, for example if we go to our local supermarket and leave the car parked there.

F Henschel says:
5 August 2014

I read the article on dashboard cameras, thought I would look up reviews as I have for a long time been thinking about getting one, but no reviews! Only users comments
and looking for the website whhich.co.uk/dashcams produces a blank page

Try searching for “Dash cams and in-car cameras: Compare features & prices” on the Which? website.

Harry H says:
23 August 2014

Hi All. Like many of you, I have been considering fitting a dash cam to my car. I found the recent review very interesting and I have been talking to friends who have already got dash cams.
One or two of them have got dash cams that look identical the Super Legend, which was given a ‘do not buy’ status. The pictures on these owned by my friends appear of a much higher quality than described in your review. The model that they have is the EL5740 and cot around £50. I can only assume that there are various models/manufacture with different electronics but use the same outer case as the cheap and nasty models. I would be interested in any comments on this.
Best wishes Harry H

Being a 19 year old i paid the first 2 years high insurance costs and have built up a no claims bonus. I havent bothered added a camera to the insurance, the only reason i purchased one is simply i live on very thin back lanes where there’s many accidents which end up being ‘knock for knock’. Since having the camera for 2 weeks i ended up having my car written off on one of these roads. The other driver automatically put the blame on me and called the police out. They to started putting the blame on me until i mentioned that i had a dash camera that had recorded everything. It showed that i had come to a complete stop and the other car just continued at the same speed and was in the middle of the road. My camera was a couple of pennies under £13 and i paid £8 for a decent memory card. £21 was a good call instead of my insurance doubling for a couple of years. I would recommend a camera to any driver as even if it never used, £21 will hardly be missed and can save £1000 in the long run.

[This comment has been edited to align with our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Penny says:
1 July 2015

I am interested in purchasing an RAC dash cam but cannot see a review on your site? Am I looking in the right place?

Morning Penny, thanks for your comment and hope you’re enjoying the lovely warm weather today 🙂

I’m pleased to let you know that we’ve published lots of dash cam reports, as well as really useful guides – you can read these here:

http://www.which.co.uk/technology/computing/reviews/dash-cams-and-in-car-cameras/

Please bear in mind that you’d need a Which? or Which? Online membership in order to access this content. More information about our subscriptions can be read here:

http://www.which.co.uk/about-which/what-we-offer/

Penny, I don’t know the status of these reviews but both RAC cameras are on http://www.driving.co.uk/car-clinic/buying-guide-leading-dashboard-cameras-dash-cams-reviewed/#RAC02
The best buy from Which?s reviews is the Nextbase 402, which is also well liked on the above. We’ve bought two as family gifts and they appear to do well, including in low light. Strangely you have to buy a microSD card separately, but not a great expense!

Penny says:
2 July 2015

Thank you for the input Malcolm. I don’t know the Nextbase brand and they didn’t email me back on a question I had so I would prefer to stick to a brand I know and trust. If I have any issues with the RAC camera I will post them here.

Penny. I have had the Nextbase 420 for over a year, having previously used a much cheaper camera (prior to the Which? reviews) and would recommend it for quality of recording and simplcity of use. I did need to contact Nextbase when first trying to understand and apply the instructions, but I telephoned them and they couldn’t have been more helpful.

The one thing I would point out to all dashcam users, having found out for myself after viewing hours of a rain streaked windscreen, is to run your windscreen washer and wipers before fitting any camera, so you ensure that its lens is well sited within the clear area provided by the wipers!

Very good point!

Thanks for this month’s (October 2017) dashcam reviews. If anything disproves the old (marketing?) adage “you get what you pay for”, it’s the performance vs. price chart on page 67. The way I interpret the chart is that there’s just as much chance of purchasing a good cheap dashcam as a good expensive one which bears out my own experience.

I purchased a £30 dashcam (the G1W – as recommended on Techmoan’s website) over two years ago and, although low on features, it records very decent full HD footage in all light conditions reliably and with great clarity. In fact, the footage taken on my G1W looks markedly superior to the ‘Best Buy’ dashcam photo shown on page 66 (though perhaps the printing process reduces photo quality?) I suspect the only downside to purchasing a capable product from an unknown brand is that substandard copies may appear on the market (with the same exterior but inferior innards) so best check seller’s provenance before purchase.