How to view dash cam footage

So, you’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to become part of the dash cam generation.  Now you are going to have hours of footage of what’s going on around your vehicle both when you are on the road and parked up (if you decided to invest in a hard-wired camera that offers parking mode).

Use it or lose it!

There is no point having all this great quality video footage is you are not going to use it to your benefit.  The main benefit of recording your footage is for your own protection: 

  • To determine who is at fault if you have an accident.  Your dash cam footage can be invaluable to back you up if you are not at fault and can be provided to your insurance company or law enforcement if needed.  
  • A visible dash cam may discourage thieves or vandals from targeting your car when its parked for long periods.
  • GPS data is great for providing historical information at a later date (how fast you were travelling or the exact location of any incidents).

Transform your driving videos into Cold Hard Cash!

As a dash cam user, you can become part of this thriving community and your videos can be used as part of a broader picture, finding ways to improve traffic safety, reduce accidents and save lives.

If you capture something exciting or out of the ordinary there are people out there willing to pay you for your footage.  Some companies have upload pages on their websites and will offer you money for your vids.  

If you want to keep the cash all for yourself, you could start your own YouTube channel and, in the vein of the Russians who lead the way in this field, start sharing weird, wonderful and dramatic dash cam footage with the world.  All you need is some basic editing skills (and an understanding of privacy rules and how they apply to your fellow motorists) and you could be the owner of the next viral dash cam video.

What’s the easiest way to download/view my dash cam footage?

If you have purchased a dash cam with a built-in screen, there is the option of playing back your videos on the dash cam itself.  However, if you are going to do something with the videos then its best to download them and watch them on your laptop. This will also give the option to easily edit your videos if you need to later.  

Below are some easy step by step instructions that will work with nearly every model of dash cam.

Easy instructions to download my dash cam footage for viewing

In most countries, when you rear end somebody, you’re normally automatically at fault.  Its assumed that you were going too fast or following them too closely. If the person in front slams on their brakes for no reason, or does a dodgy lane change, you had almost no way of proving they were in the wrong.  

Now you do!  Your camera can record this critical information for you to show your insurance company or the police to keep your clean driving record and your no claims bonus.  This is where the GPS function comes in really handy. Cams with GPS can record the location of the incident as well as the speed you were driving when it happened.

Protect yourself in tricky night driving situations.

If you do a lot of night driving, then look for a dash cam with good night vision to ensure you have good footage in all types of light conditions.   There are even interior facing cameras that can be added with infra-red to deliver clear night footage of what’s going on inside a dark car (perfect for taxis, UBERs and Lyfts).   Long distance fleet and trucking companies now use these to keep an eye on their drivers, to make sure they are staying safe on the road, not just with their driving but also exhibiting the right behaviours.

Why should I get a purpose-built dash cam?

I bet you’re sitting there thinking you can jimmy something up with your GoPro and save yourself a couple of hundred bucks.  There are loads of go-pro hacks online that will show you how to do just that. Purpose built dash cams offer a variety of tailored features that your GoPro doesn’t.  One key bonus is that you don’t to turn it on and off every time you go for a drive. Nearly all dash cams will automatically start recording when you start the car, saving a whole lot of unnecessary fiddling around.  Trust me, even after a few short trips, you will appreciate this feature.

Added security for your car when parked.

Your dash cam can also be wired into your car battery and protect your car when you are parked too.  Many have motion sensors that can get capture footage if someone backs into you in the carpark or deter thieves or vandals.  The BlackVue range even have live feeds where you can check up on your vehicle via the cloud.

Extra bonuses your dash cam can offer.

Depending on the model of camera you choose, there are a number of extra features on offer to make your driving experience safer 
Some of these include:

→ GPS functionalities

Track where your vehicle is at all times and the speed its travelling (either remotely or while viewing later footage).   Whether you are worried parents trying to ensure the safety of a teenager in their first car or employers wanting to ensure that their staff are practicing the right values and behaviours, this feature will put your mind at ease.

→ Communicate with drivers in real time

If you manage a fleet of vehicles, you use the microphone functionality in certain models to touch base with your team while they are on the road (in real time).

→ Driving Alerts

Certain dash cam models offer alerts to help you to drive more safely. E.g. alerting you when you veer outside your lane, get too close to the car in front of you or when traffic around you starts moving and you don’t.

→ Speed Camera Alerts

Receive alerts to ensure you aren’t snapped by traffic cameras – saving money and demerit points on speed camera fines. As you can see the benefits of operating a dashboard camera are huge and they can do more than just protect you from other drivers on the road, or create great YouTube clips. So if you were questioning, Should I get a dash cam? The answer is a resounding yes