Dash Cams are fast becoming a common accessory for car owners across the UK and can be a godsend if driving throughout Europe. If involved in an accident at home or abroad having video footage can save you a lot of trouble.
You need to be aware though that not every country in Europe allows there use. Often EU laws demand uniformity throughout all 27 countries but dash cams are one area where each country seems to make up the rules as they go along.
After you’ve read this article at the foot of the page you will find a comparison table for 5 of the top selling dash cams currently available in the UK.
There are some things though that apply to all countries and are common sense such as;
Don’t fit them in a way that will impair your ability to see the road clearly.
You need to respect people’s privacy as uploading videos to the internet where people can be identified (faces/number plates etc) is against the law in most (if not all EU countries)
Don’t mess with it while driving. Pull over if you need to do something to it.
Best Selling Dash Cams currently in the UK
Countries where you should not use them*
Austria is a definite no as they impose BIG fines. £10,000 +
Spain, Portugal, Luxemburg and Germany are also countries that you shouldn’t use them. Germany doesn’t seem to have a specific law banning their use but it’s more to do with privacy issues and filming people without their permission that’s the problem.
Countries where it’s currently OK to use them*
France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Hungary. Though if you do plan on driving in Hungary they do have very complicated rules about them so I suggest you do further research.
*This information is the best I currently have available but I don’t for one minute suggest it is 100% accurate at the time you are reading this. So I take no responsibility if you get fined for using a dash cam in some foreign country. When technological advances move so fast the law is often slow to catch up, so I’m sure things will change over time.
A Potted History
What was once something that was only used and affordable by commercial fleet operators, and by emergency services, is now being increasingly seen as a desirable, and essential device for drivers in their own personal vehicles.
If you are looking to join the estimated 3 million car owners who now use a Dash Cam, then here are five things you need to know about Dash Cams.
Cost and Availability
You may think a Dash Cam would be an expensive luxury that would be nice to have, but it would be too hard to justify due to the high cost. Well, big advances in technology and growing demand, has led to a sharp drop in prices that now makes even some of the high spec models affordable to most people. A basic model can cost as little as £25, with higher end models with the latest features costing around £300. High street stores and online sites have a wide variety of models to suit all needs, and can be bought ready to use straight out the box
Legality and Insurance
As long as the camera is positioned in a way that ensures you have a clear view of the road ahead, then you won’t have a problem. Most models can be positioned high up in the centre of the windscreen so as not to interfere with your driving. As for your insurance, many insurers out there will offer a discount of up to 10% for Dash Cam users. If they don’t specify this, it is always worth asking when you renew.
Most insurers in the UK nowadays will accept Dash Cam footage in the event of you having an accident, and similarly, it can be used in evidence if you need to go to court. Having this peace of mind and evidence could save you a lot of money! Most Police forces now are happy to use footage for all types of road and traffic incidents, so if you can protect yourself in the event of something happening whilst you are out and about, then it could make all the difference to you.
The cheaper models will obviously not have all the advanced features of the more expensive ones. But spend around £60 and you will get a model that records in HD and offers good quality in lower light conditions. The better resolution will read number plates and offer much better clarity in all conditions. All models will record footage either internally on the Cam, or via a removable SD card on a continuous loop. The high end models will include features such as Wi-Fi for easier transfer of your data, rear facing cameras to record footage inside the car as well, or ultra-high definition footage that captures pinpoint sharp images in at all times.
Most Dash Cams will simply plug straight into your 12 volt socket. More expensive models can be hard wired into your cars electrical system if you prefer, although this will probably have to be done by a specialist technician. Either way simply turning off your ignition turns off the device, so you won’t have problems with any drain on your battery.
Ease of use
Dash Cams can be used straight away. Basically attach the camera to your windscreen as you would a Sat Nav device, and plug the lead straight into your 12 volt socket. All you have to do is press record, and you are ready to go. Some even have motion sensors which automatically start recording once you set off. The footage will be stored straight away into the memory; once it is full it will go back to the start and overwrite the footage from the beginning until told to stop. This can then easily be downloaded onto your computer when needed either by a lead, or simply remove the SD card and plug it into wherever you need
So, whatever your needs, and your budget, you will be able to find a Dash Cam that suits you. Sales have increased by 600% over the past three years, so now is the time to consider getting one for both peace of mind, and to save you some money.
Some Suggested Dash Cams
Shown here are the latest releases of dash Cams on Amazon, so these suggestions may well differ from the best sellers list above. There is quite a variety of choices dependent on budget of course so I’ve listed them here for you to consider. ** See our affiliate linking policy.