Should You Get a Dash Cam?

hands adjusting small camera and screen on car windshield

Whether you want to record yourself on the open road or the open road itself, there are lots of reasons that dash cams have jumped in popularity. If you are considering buying a dash cam, there are a few things to consider beforehand.

What is a Dash Cam?

Dash cams are essentially cameras that mount to your dashboard and serve a variety of safety and entertainment purposes. Dash cams can be used to record you as you drive, the road and your surroundings as you drive. Dash cams are often used for business purposes so employers can keep tabs on employees who drive cars of other company machinery. Dash cams are also very popular for personal use and individuals often record themselves for videos or social media talking as they drive. Another popular use for dash cams is to record the road to protect you in the event of a car accident or other roadway incident.

A dash cam is generally mounted to the dashboard using a dash cam mount. The device is programed to record whenever the car is running or on. The device can be positioned facing the road or inside the car and can record for various amounts of time depending on the camera and the SD card in the camera. Your specific dash cam will have a list of specs on the outside of the box letting you know the max record time and the recording quality.

Dash cams can be purchased online or at a number of in-person retailers. Determine what you want to use your dash cam for before you buy one. This will help you pick the right kind of dash cam. A dash cam can be as inexpensive as twenty or thirty dollars, but can run a lot more expensive! Pick a few cameras that meet your needs and compare features and prices to pick the best one for you.

Dash cams need a power source like any other camera, so you'll also want to check how your camera will be powered before you buy one.

front camera of dash camera

Are Dash Cams Legal?

In many states, there are laws prohibiting the use of anything that obstructs the view out the front windshield or side mirrors. Dash cams though, are sometimes exempt from this rule. The legality of dash cams varies from state to state, and there may also be laws in your state about who and what you are allowed to record with your dash cam.

In some states, dash cam footage is not legally usable in a court, so make sure you check on that too before you purchase a dash cam for that purpose. Especially because many people buy dash cams to protect them in the event that they are pulled over or in a car accident, it's important to know if you can even use your camera footage in court and if you can legally record others.

If you will be using your dash cam to keep tabs on employees, there are some legal guides there as well. Your employees may need to sign documents consenting to be filmed on the job. Talk to your company lawyer before you install these dash cams in your car.

dash cam facing traffic

Are Dash Cams Secure?

Whenever you install a watching and listening device in your home or car, security is bound to be a question. While not all cameras are created equally, for the most part, dash cams are very secure. Read up on your specific dash cam to find out what security measures are in place to protect your video and privacy.

Dash Cam Maintenance

Maintaining your dash cam is pretty simple. Like any electronic device, you need to be able to service the camera from time to time. Make sure to keep the camera dust-free. You can use compressed air to safely clean your dash cam externally and internally.

You also need to be able to check on the SD cards regularly. SD cards can break and corrupt so check your cards regularly and make sure everything is in working condition.

You also need to know the temperature tolerance of your dash cam. If you live in a place with extreme weather conditions, make sure your camera can handle those temperatures in the car.

Whether you're looking to film your next epic road trip or a camera keeps you safe on the road, a dash cam can be a fun addition to any car.