Dash Cam – Why You Need One Right Now (Part 1/3)

The watchful dash cam. It’s new technology, and more and more people are adopting it as the price point steadily drops to within palatable proportions. Yet, many others have been slow to utilize this simple insurance against fraud and erroneous liability, simply because they don’t see the value.

(Editor’s Note: This anecdote highlights an actual event, simply to raise awareness of the speed at which a simple traffic incursion can change everything for you. The companion articles will help you decide if you need one, and subsequently – which one is right for you. Check Part 2/3 out to see why everyone should have one, or Part 3/3 if you just need help deciding what dash cam is right for you.

It Could Happen to You – In An Instant

The incident was completely avoidable, yet both drivers engaged in a pointless pissing contest of superiority as they traveled down the public highway. It started out simple enough; the white Acura TSX was cutting lanes to get through the dense web of traffic – trying to out-flow the flow. It was working, albeit not very well.

A silver Honda Accord was up ahead, and one lane to the right. The Accord was about one car-length behind a container truck that was directly in front of the Accura. The semi was blocking the Accura’s forward progress. If only the hole was a little bit bigger, he could just slide right through!

The Setup

The TSX pulls alongside the silver Accord, positioning himself for the moment to strike – all he needed was an extra foot or so to slide around the lumbering semi. As luck would have it, the semi surged forward just enough to open the hole up! The TSX driver took advantage of the situation, dropped a gear, and slammed the white Accura in front of the Accord; a scot-free getaway!

Luck would quickly run out for the TSX driver; the traffic in front of him would grid-lock his position to the right of the massive truck. The Accord driver, aggravated by the selfish lane change, would take two lanes to his left and shoot around the other side of the semi, passing both the massive rolling roadblock and the Accura, in one fell swoop.

It would appear the Honda Accord got the better end of the deal, now motoring happily along with both nuisances behind him, but the feeling of victory was short-lived. A mirror-check revealed that the TSX was closing on the Accord’s position, yet again; and faster this time. He was one lane to the right, and about 500 feet back.

The driver of the Accord, seeing the Acura’s “racing line,” decided to dish out a small dose of “social justice,” and positioned himself one lane to the right, effectively blocking the TSX’s intended path through the next tangle of slow-movers.

The Primer

Now, the Acura was stuck behind the Accord – again! Aggravated that someone would actually be so petty as to block his lane (for no apparent gain), the TSX rode the Accord’s bumper as close as he could, letting the self-righteous Accord know his lane-block wasn’t appreciated. In response, the Accord slowed his speed, ultimately having the upper hand, by default.

By this point, both cars were blaring on each other’s radars; the Accura TSX felt that the Accord was unfairly singling him out, and the Accord felt that the Accura “needed to learn a lesson.” How familiar does this scenario sound? Even if you don’t partake in this nonsense, you see it happen every time you jump onto a congested roadway.

Little did both drivers realize that they were both 17 seconds away from a completely avoidable accident.

The Moment of Impact

The moment of vindication arrives for the TSX as a hole opened up on the left. He downshifted again, slammed the car into the newly-open left lane, and burned through his powerband as his car quickly gained ground on the Accord. This was his shining moment – now, he could once-and-for-all show that stupid Accord driver who’s boss!

As his TSX passed the front of the Accord, he decided that victory was sweeter when it was smeared in the face of adversaries. He cut back into the Accord’s lane, but his depth of perception was off by a good two feet. Instead of sliding within inches of the Accords front bumper, the quarter panel of the TSX caught the front fender of the Accord. The two cars would regain control quickly, and the accident was very minor, but the corners of both cars were now crumpled, and everybody got to be late to work.

The Settling Dust…Settles on You!

In the aftermath, a police report was made, and the TSX driver would attest that the Accord had, in fact, come into HIS lane, resulting in the cause of the accident. The official record would ultimately be categorized as “unable to determine fault” at the scene, and both drivers would go about the rest of their days with chunks of plastic light housing falling out of their fenders.

I can tell you this story because my brother was the driver of the Accord. I am naturally biased to his side of the case, obviously, because he’s my brother. But, regardless of my opinion, they were both “wrong.” However, when you draw it down to the letter of the law, who is at fault here?

Had the incident been recorded on a dash cam, it could have been submitted to the insurance companies, and the fault would have been instantly determined. Although there were seven minutes of buildup where either driver could have disengaged at any time, the entire incident boils down to the last second, the one where the TSX made the unsafe lane change.

Insurance Fraud (It’s Actually Common)

He would lie to his insurance company, who would characteristically take his position, and the damages were left to be resolved by each party involved. My brother’s fender is still smashed up.

Sadly, his birthday was just around the corner, where a Garmin 55 dash cam was patiently waiting in a box with his name on it. He would install it within the week, but it was of no use to him in this incident; the damage was already done.

This incident outlines a recurring theme in dash cam popularity. Many people hold off until something happens – after they already NEEDED” it. Many people rightfully assume, “it won’t happen to me.” Statistically, you may be right – but should you happen to get tangled up in a traffic debacle, where a dash cam would have been beneficial, it instantly becomes a “woulda-coulda-shoulda.”

Don’t be caught with your pants down on the road! Dash cams may not be for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to know the facts, at the bare minimum. Then you can you can accurately deliberate what dacsh cam, if any, is right for you.

Next: Dash Cams - Why You Need One Right Now (Part 2)

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This primer article was simply to illustrate the ease at which we can find ourselves in a muck. Part 2/3 in this series outlines important specifics to consider if you’re still on the fence, and the third and final Part 3/3 breaks down dash cam features, to make it easy to find the one that’s right for you. I have one, and it’s watching everything you do – even when I’m away.

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