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Gadget review: Dashcam. Why you need one in your car.

Being a devourer of gadgets, and also a lover of reality cop shows where they show footage of amazing incidents, the two married together nicely when I got my very own dashcam!

My wife's first question was "why"? My first answer was "why not"!

But what is a dashcam and why are they becoming increasingly popular?

In a nutshell, it's a wide angled camera that attaches to your windscreen with a suction cap and continually sees and records what you see as you drive. It's relatively unobtrusive when attached. Here it is in my car alongside the rearview mirror.



In Russia almost every car has a dashcam, hence them being able to record amazing footage as the meteor streaked across their skies about 8 months ago. Another recent piece of footage caught on a dashcam was the horrific Pinetown truck accident:



So why would you want one in your car? Think of it as an insurance policy. Should you being involved in an accident you have a visual record of events to prove non-liability (if you are actually innocent!). It can also record criminal activity. Think about the next time that cop pulls you over. Not only do you get their face on camera, but with full audio recording, you get the soliciting of the bribe as well. Nice footage for Derek Watts on Carte Blanche! How about placing one in your teenager's car to monitor their driving. At this stage they don't have a live feed back to home base, and simply record onto SD card, but you can never have too little information when it comes to your kids.

In fact, depending on the model you go for, it's also great for business vehicle tracking as it also has full GPS recording, so you know the vehicle's speed and location while it's filming the visuals. Here's screenshot of the information you get (this is a still image taken from my dashcam at the scene of the horrific head-on collision of 2 motorbikes yesterday in Lanseria):


The model I have is the DOD LS430 (available from www.sacarcameras.co.za) for R2900. With it's 140 degree wide angle lens, it records in full 1080p and records in car audio as well. This is the quality of the actual footage, compressed here for web streaming (out of respect for the families of the fallen bikers, it's not the actual footage of the above accident scene):