Dash cams seem to have snuck up on me unannounced. First no one had them except the Police – and then all of a sudden it seems a LOT of people are starting to use them. There’s even a TV Show featuring dashcam footage caught on the madness of our roads.
And of course, it’s one of *those* products isn’t it? Like an apple corer – you have no need for one at all… until you need it.
Last summer I had one of those moments – on my way out with my son we used the back roads as the quickest way to get where we were going. As we approached an oddly narrow pinch point I became aware that the white transit van coming the other way wasn’t slowing in the slightest. I braked sharply and stopped – the van didn’t. He slid right alongside me, sliding his front wing screechingly all the way down the side of my car.
He backed up, we exchanged details – and I thankfully took a photograph quickly on my phone before he drove off.
On getting home we called the insurance company and the fun began. Firstly he’d given me incorrect number plate details (ALWAYS check it for yourself, people. Lesson learned. Thankfully my quick camera phone snap gave us enough of the number plate to solve this issue). Secondly, he was a courier using a hire van – so a third cog in the endless paperwork wheel. Thirdly, he insisted to his insurance company that I hadn’t stopped and that I had slid into HIM.
And what did the insurance company instantly ask me? Whether there was an cctv of the incident.
I mean seriously – the only possible witnesses were the two cows looking curiously over the hedge wondering what all the noise was.
In the end, it was declared a knock-for-knock, and he took no blame whatsoever. SO infuriating – but I simply had no proof.
And all of a sudden the purpose of a dash cam became clear. Yes, they’re entirely unnecessary… until you need them. If I’d had dash cam footage of that incident, I’d have had unequivocal proof of fault, and therefore no car repair bill to foot.
And if you’re looking for a dash cam, I’d suggest you do your research well – and that you start by looking at the Nextbase Dash Cam 512G. Because honestly? It’s brilliant.
We planned to use it for our trip to Yorkshire last month – but it only arrived a few hours before we left. There are very few instructions in the box with it – a simple Quick Start Guide, plus a disc to insert int your computer to gain the full instruction booklet. Pffft – we had no time for that, we had ot get on the road! So we plugged it in, tucked the wire around the edge of the windscreen and down around the glovebox, and off we went.
We literally touched nothing.
And… it worked. Perfectly. Every time we started moving, it switched itself on, and continuously recorded until we switched off. It works by recording in 3 minute bursts on a continuous loop – so you always have the last four hours of footage if you use a 32GB memory card. You can hit a button to make it store the particular segment you’re in (as it loops it auto-rewrites the oldest segment with the newest on a rolling basis, so eventually they will be deleted if you don’t save them), and one of the best features for me is that if there does happen to be an incident,the dash cam will recognise this with the inbuilt G force sensors and it’ll automatically lock the 3 minute chapter that you are in and save it so that it cannot be overwritten. So you don’t need to remember to ‘hit save’ whilst you’re dealing with the aftermath of an accident.
But of course, you also need to know that the quality of the film you’re recording is actually going to be useable – it’s ultimately pointless if it’s a grainy low-res images that you’re struggling to see any detail in.
But again the Nextbase 512G wins – it’s recording in full 1080p HD quality, and with the very latest Sony Exmor sensor for optimum video colours (see how it balances out the sunset gold of the moors to a more normal green in the image above) the recorded video is the best quality available from any dash cam on the market currently.
Of course, it’s not all coasting along empty moorland roads as the sun sets. You also need to know that the camera is going to pick up what’s going on when it’s dark and rainy out – probably the situations you most need that camera recording for you!
As you can see from the bottom right of the screen, this was taken at 5.50 a.m. in February – we’d just hit the motorway, the weather was drizzly and unpleasant and the roads were dark. But the camera’s sensors and lens are both good enough to use your headlights to find all the detail on the road ahead.
We were driving the husband’s Landcruiser, so there’s a really long bonnet out the front, but this was no issue for the Nextbase Dash Cam 512G. We simply angled it very slightly towards the road, and were really impressed with the 140º Ultra Wide viewing angle; it’s so wide it captures any detail at the very edge of a drivers vision, including cars coming in from the side/changing lanes.
It also has inbuilt GPS to track your location, and that information is displayed upon playback…
We have rather fallen in love with this little bit of kit – easy to install, ridiculously simple to use (seriously – it’s plug-and-go…), and the quality of the resulting footage is everything you’ll need. You just don’t have to think about it – except when you need it. And when you do, you can be confident the exact recording you need will be sitting waiting for you.
The Nextbase Dash Cam 512G is currently available from Halfords for £179. And with 1 in 3 accidents occurring within a mile from home, don’t think you should wait until you’re headed off on that epic road trip to get one; just get it.