How to set up a dash cam
Dash cam footage can be really useful should anything happen when you’re in your car. Once mounted on your dashboard, a dash cam will record sounds and images while you’re driving. It can provide first hand evidence of a car accident and can prevent fraud by disproving others’ false claims against you.
Away from the doom and gloom of accidents and incidents, a dash cam can give you a nostalgia-filled record of your travels, and can give undisciplined drivers, well, discipline.
But back to the not-so-nice stuff, did you know that insurers and the courts can disregard your footage if your dash cam isn't fitted properly? – you could even be breaking the law.
This guide will give you the information you need to help you mount your dash cam correctly.
Where should I mount my dash cam?
You should fit your dash cam behind the rear-view mirror. This way, it’ll be in the middle of your windscreen but won’t obscure your view – and it’ll give you a full view of both lanes of the road and road signs on both sides.
Don’t just put it wherever it’s most convenient for you – i.e. the easiest place in terms of wires and the way it looks in your car. The rules are there for a reason, and following them could get you out of a spot of bother further down the road (no pun intended).
What about wires getting in the way?
Unsightly wires can be a pain. We’ve asked the same question when connecting our phones, digital radios, satnavs and the like. But if you choose a dash cam with a long power lead, you’ll be able to tuck it along the front of the dashboard, where it meets the windscreen, then bring it down to the cigarette lighter or USB socket, where you’ll plug it in.
Alternatively, you can get your dash cam fitted professionally. It’ll be connected directly to your car's electricals, and will turn itself on and off along with the ignition. This is called hardwiring, and shouldn’t cost more than £30. It’ll get rid of the wires, and free up your cigarette lighter or USB socket for other things.
Can I hardwire it myself?
If you’re confident doing so – and you’ve got half an hour spare – then yes. You’ll have to get into the fuse box, and use your hardwiring kit to swap a connection. It might be more or less complicated based on the car you drive.
How do I fix my dash cam?
Generally, there are two types of mount – using suction and adhesive strips.
With adhesive strips, it’s more important to fix it right the first time, as the strips can be difficult to move once fixed. Line up the mount so you’ll get even – not wonky – footage, and be sure there are no obstructions in the way of the camera. You’ll probably find that a suction mount is easier to fix and reposition.
How do I review the footage?
If you’re involved in an incident, you can take a look at the footage on the dash cam itself if it has a screen on it. If not, you can review the footage on a PC or laptop by plugging in the dash cam via a USB cable. Or remove the microSD card and plug that in.
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