Don't have a dash-cam? Maybe you should
After yet another run-in with a bad driver, Eric Lai decides it's time to camera up
After yet another near-miss with a bad driver on the roads (see video, below), I finally decided it was time to get a dash-cam. That way, if my luck runs out, I’ll have proof of who was at fault – and a video clip for the Internet.
Turns out, a decent dash camera isn’t that expensive. The Accuvision DV-207 is a top-rated economy high-definition camera online. It cost me $60 on sale (but isn’t a regular stock item at Princess Auto).
Additionally, I spent $16 for a 16 GB memory card that’s rated for at least 2 hours of HD video, or longer in lower definition. I’ve been getting 4 hours on my 16 GB card. The camera itself can take up to a 32 GB card.
When out of memory, the camera will overwrite the oldest files, so copy any juicy video to your computer promptly or pop in another memory card.
A suction cup mount attaches the camera to the windshield. Next, plug it in to your car’s accessory power port and the camera will record automatically whenever the ignition is on. It can be set to record in 2, 5 or 15-minute video files.
The camera has a 120-degree field of view and infrared LEDs to provide “night vision” in total darkness. Obviously, these can only illuminate objects at close range, such as within the confines of the car. At night, the camera does a reasonable job recording traffic using atmospheric light, streetlights and vehicle headlights. (An overcast day did trick it into underexposing daytime video of a wrong way driver.)
The camera has a fold-down 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) screen, and videos can be played back at up to 8-times normal speed.
To prevent theft, I take the camera with me when I park the car. It has an internal rechargeable battery, so it can be used as a cordless, hand-held video camera anywhere. I even taped it to my dog’s harness, but “doggie-vision” turned out to be nauseating “earthquake-vision.”
The Accuvision camera can time-and-date stamp your videos, but doesn’t have GPS.
As for “bad driver” moments caught on camera, it didn’t take long.
DANGEROUS DRIVERS: Note that in the video clip of the wrong way driver, I attempted (off-camera) to wave her down and alert her to her error, but she instead sped past (illegally using the shoulder I might add). Since she was continuing to endanger other motorists behind me, as well as herself, I yelled a last-ditch warning. It wasn’t polite, but it was necessary.