Hooniverse Asks: Do you use a dashcam?

Over on the Hooniverse Podcast, we’ve been talking about dashcams recently. That’s because my podcast co-host Ron Baugh randomly captured an amazing moment of karma. He was driving along in a convoy heading to SEMA when a driver in a car not related to the group chucked a cup of soda out their window towards an Acura NSX that was in the convoy. Not a nice thing to do. But a moment later, the soda chucker had a relatively low-speed impact with the car in front of it as it didn’t pay attention to traffic slowing and stopping. Ron caught both incidents on the camera.

Note: Music from inside the car is playing in the video below.

Since that happened, Ron and I have been more interested in dashcams. The good folks at NextBase reached out right around this same time and sent over a few models to try. I’m having one installed in the Montero right now, and it actually has image stabilization so NextBase is marketing it to the off-road crowd as it seems it’s proving good at capturing trail runs. I’ll also install a lesser model in the Jag, and Ron is installing a pair in two of his vehicles as well.

I’ve wanted a dashcam for a while now. It’s just an extra set of eyes to have your back in case something bad happens and not everyone is honest about it. And I’ll report the highs and lows of anything I find after I get my Montero back from the installation booth (I’m also finally upgrading the sound system in the truck, which is something I’ve wanted to do as long as I’ve owned it.)

So do any of you have dashcams installed? If so, which model do you run, and what’s your experience been like?

9 Comments

  1. Let us know how much of a PITA it is to deal with, and realistically how much admissible evidence it can gather.

    It’s one of those things that if it fell into my lap I’d definitely use it, as I can see its value every time I drive or ride the motorcycle. But then I think, other than sharing “check out what this asshole did” videos with a world full of people who have had a similar asshole do a similar thing to them already, what good is it? It’s rare that dash cam footage (in the US) is the make-or-break evidence in an insurance claim.

    The dash-or-helmet-cam video of that bobcat that jumped across the road in front of you is never as impressive as the real event, because lensing.

    1. FWIW, my niece had been in three wrecks during her first two years of driving. After the second, her dad had a dashcam installed. For the third, a motorist was facing the other direction and turned left in front of her, causing the collision. He told the police she ran her red light, but the camera clearly showed she had a green.

  2. I don’t have one, not counting a suction cup camera I use for certain events, but that one is battery-only without a way to wire it into the car’s electrical system.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to one in my newer cars, but would not put anything in the ragtop or an as-original classic.

    When I was in 9th grade, my dad picked 4 of us up from an amusement park. A driver traveling about 70 mph tried to overtake us on the shoulder because my dad was maybe one or two mph over the 55 mph speed limit. Just as the front bumper of that other car got even with our rear bumper, the other driver suddenly noticed the abandoned car parked on the shoulder (and by “suddenly noticed”, I mean there was impact). That one would have been interesting to have had footage of, although I guess a dash cam would have been pointed the wrong direction.

  3. When my kids were small, it was easiest for me to put them to sleep, as opposed to my wife, who wouldn’t manage to let them sleep. But I had to sit there. So I’d watch muted Russian dashcam compilations for at least half an hour every night. That was 2011-2015 maybe? Always wanted my own dashcam after that, mostly to capture nice drives. This fall, I finally bought a cheap cam off AliExpress, heavily advertised as “full HD 1080p”…which it wasn’t. It’s barely 720p and you can neither read license plates, nor make out the landscape with this footage. But I’ve shared a few clips nonetheless; it’s nice. Yet it also means more time spent in the digital realm regurgitating stuff one’s done hours/days before. A weird social media thing to do.

  4. I’ve been using them since 2014. I’ve got some pretty cheap ones that work pretty well. It doesn’t feel right to drive without them anymore. Fortunately, I haven’t had to use them as evidence, but I’ve gotten some decent clips of bad drivers using them.

  5. I’ve considered it, seems like one of those things that pays for itself ten times over if you need it and it works as it should. This may come as a shock, but people lie without any remorse when it suits them financially. It’s a classic prisoner’s dilemma with a third party payer at the other end to assuage what might have been guilt for screwing over a normal person minding their own business.

    My most recent experience in this realm was a guy, obviously impaired in one way or another, drive over median curbing on a busy road and run straight into a lady that was sitting still waiting to exit a parking lot. He ran off, but I gave my name and number to the lady if she needed a witness. Turns out someone tracked him down, and he denied any culpability at all when there was no plausible situation where he wasn’t completely at fault. Without a witness, who knows what goes down, but a dash cam in the lady’s car would have shown this asshole’s actions in high definition.

  6. I installed a forward-facing Street Guardian unit in my WRX, and when I more recently added another car to the fleet, it got a newer, two-camera (forward and rear) version of basically the same thing. Thankfully I’ve never had need to use them (well, other than getting trackday footage from the WRX’s camera), but I tend to think of them as (relatively) cheap peace-of-mind and insurance. Of course, one of those units has been beeping at me more times than it seems like it should lately when I turn off the car, so I might need to check that my “set-and-forget” solution actually is…

    I’d thought about getting one for some time, but the story that pushed me over into doing it was that a friend of mine was driving his Lotus Elise, and stopped behind some cars at a red light. I don’t know if the person in front of him was looking for an insurance payout or what, but they put their car in reverse and backed into him, damaging the Elise’s front clamshell (which is by no means a small or cheap part) and making the whole thing look like some hotdogger in a fancy sports car saw the light too late and rear-ended the poor person in front. My friend’s dashcam footage clearly showed him stopping safely and the other person’s reverse lights and reversing motion, and that apparently settled things pretty quickly for the attending officer.

  7. I’ve had 2 accidents where dash cam footage would have been the difference and I would have been paid. Instead, the other party lied and I was stuck.

    So I bought a dash cam. Based on recommendations from the Reddit dashcam subreddit I got a Voifo A119 V3, but I haven’t set it up yet. My plan is to move it from car to car, but we’ll see if that’s a workable solution.

  8. I’m definitely a dash cam proponent.

    I personally own 4 vehicles with dash cameras installed…
    a 2019 MX5 Miata (Vantrue N4)
    a 2018 Mazda 3 Sedan (Vantrue N4)
    a 1998 Montero (being built to crawl | Vantrue N2 Pro)
    a 1989 Montero (overlander /classic car | Vantrue N4).

    Three vehicles have the 3-camera/channel Vantrue N4 (4K/HD/HD) and the 4th has the older Vantrue N2 Pro 2-camera/channel (Full HD) dash cam.

    I’ve been running them for a couple of years now and upgrading old cameras as the tech improves. Just this past fall I’ve been hit twice by inattentive drivers and IMHO, just being able to say I have it recorded on my dashcam usually quiets any immediate lies from the other party.

    Oh, be sure to use memory cards made for this kind of high volume recording use as it will see tens of thousands of video file recordings over the life of the life/use in your dashcam.

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