I’ve been quite the advocate of dash cams for probably six years now. A road rage incident near Springfield convinced me the prudence and wisdom of having a visual record of events while driving.
Since then, I’ve upgraded to a much higher resolution camera (near 4k quality with a Rove R2-4k) and been even happier. It’s completely a “set up and forget about it until you need it” operation, and mine sits unobtrusively nestled on the far side of my rear-view mirror, permanently mounted. (There’s better cameras than my 4-year-old Rove today.)
It pays off… again.
A while back, a driver crashed into me as I drove my little munchkins to day care. The other driver didn’t hardly touch his brakes, much less stop. Finally with me behind him about six blocks later, he reconsidered and turned onto a side street and pulled over as I spoke with a 9-1-1 dispatcher.
In hindsight, I had no business following the other driver when they didn’t stop promptly. I should have pulled off on the first side road and called police. I had all the information for the suspect vehicle.
I didn’t need to put myself and my kids in danger needlessly.
Anyway, after sitting in his SUV for a minute or two, he emerged, unsteady his feet as if quite intoxicated. I relayed that info to the dispatcher.
As I explained what I saw, the man approached my vehicle in a wide arc, yelling and physically posturing as if he wanted to fight. Yeah, he “leaked” lots of pre-violence indicators with his body language in addition to his verbal utterances.
Gee, how many red flags do I need?
Delayed emergence from the other car? What’s he doin’ in there?
Looks drunk? Drunk people do dumb things.
Yelling threats and pre-violence indicators? Hello! Get the flock out of there!
I foolishly didn’t leave, but I did back up almost to the intersection and the man kept approaching. I told him to get back (that’s the family-friendly rendition) and that police were on the way. At that time, he returned to his SUV.
Eventually the man returned to his vehicle. In the end, fire and police arrived.
Turns out the man couldn’t produce proof of insurance, which might explain his reluctance to stop. The officer said he didn’t see any overt signs of intoxication when speaking with the other driver.
I showed the officer the dash cam video on my phone. The camera left no doubt who was responsible for the collision, and that earned him a pair of tickets. The officer asked me to upload it to the local PD evidence server, which I did.
Looking at the video a couple of times on a large monitor at home, the other driver’s unsteadiness on his feet might have been an old injury or disability, not impairment.
On my side of things, we had no injuries and very little damage to my ride. I’m pretty sure I used up a lot of my good karma surplus escaping without much damage or getting pushed into a head-on collision with the oncoming school bus which might have happened if he had hit me a couple seconds later.
The other SUV did suffer some damage.
The kiddos were mildly traumatized by the confrontation. They were utterly unfamiliar with hearing daddy’s “assertive” voice dealing with an aggressor. Fortunately, they’re no longer talking about it on a regular basis.
Folks, for less than the cost of a speeding ticket, a dash cam can make all the difference in the world dispassionately documenting what happens while you’re driving.
It affirms your version of events and at the same time protects you from false accusations, including claims that you were driving “aggressively” or threatening other drivers (verbally or with other “tools”). They can also document that you did not run a red light at an intersection.
If you drive like a decent human being, you need one of these. If you drive professionally, they become mandatory. Sure, if you’re heavy-footed at times, you can turn off the recorded speed stamp.
If you have teenagers driving, that’s a whole new stack of reasons to put a dash cam in their car as well. It will protect them from hit and run drivers getting away, or from false accusations of wrongdoing in a crash. It’ll also let you review their driving patterns to make sure they aren’t doing stupid stuff to win stupid prizes.
In addition to all of the above reasons, dash cams will save a permanent record if someone attacks you in your vehicle.
Get a dash cam. Even if nothing bad happens to you, it’ll make for some amusing video if you hit a deer or slide off the road in an ice storm.
Follow up: I’ve been using the Rove R2-4K cameras for about five years now. They are the third system I’ve used. I’m very pleased with it, but there may be newer, better systems out there today.