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Comment: Is it time to buy a dash cam for your van?

Published 07 March 2016

If you’ve ever visited YouTube then you’ve probably come across dash cam footage. The little cameras are extremely popular and can be invaluable when it comes to proving who was at fault in a road traffic accident.

The premise of a dash camera is simple – it records short clips on a constant loop and, if you have an accident, you can save the clip and send it to your insurer. This footage can then be submitted as evidence to prove who’s at fault and also be used in a court of law to prosecute dangerous drivers.

These days there are dozens of dash cameras available to suit all budgets and uses – you can even download an app to your mobile phone that performs the same function and costs nothing. Dash cams are particularly useful for builders and delivery drivers who spend long periods in their van because – by law of averages – they have an increased chance of running into trouble simply because they’re on the road for longer periods than most other non-professional drivers.

Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to prove who was liable in an accident, it is also possible to get an insurance discount with some firms offering as much as 10 per cent off for drivers who use a dash cam in their van.

If you’re in an accident then not only will a dash camera help prove who was at fault, but it will also reduce the amount of time it takes to settle a claim, which means you can get your van back on the road in significantly less time. A dash camera will also help you avoid ‘cash for crash’ fraudsters - drivers who brake suddenly on purpose to cause a rear-end collision.

It’s worth remembering, of course, that the dash camera works both ways – so if you do something stupid or make a mistake it will prove your guilt just as much as it will prove your innocence.

Want to buy a dash cam, but don't know where to start looking? Check out our top 10: dash cameras to suit all budgets

Dash cam tips

  • Consider having your dash cam professionally fitted. Some retailers will do this for £30 and will tidy away all of the wires and ensure the camera switches on when the engine is started.

  • If your van is parked on the road, consider getting a camera with a park mode. This will prompt the camera to switch itself on if it detects an impact.

  • If self-fitting, your dash cam should not be mounted above the steering wheel or directly in front of the driver. Place it on the passenger’s side of the van, behind the rear-view mirror. The camera must have a good view of the road, but not be more than 40mm into the area where the wiper blades operate.

  • Some cameras feature an inbuilt screen, but it’s illegal to drive with this switched on. Always ensure the screen is off before you start your journey.

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