In recent years, dash cams have become popular as technology integrates more and more with our daily lives. From insurance fraud protection to road trip vlogging, there’s a lot dash cams can do.

But, there’s a lot you might not know about dash cams and their capability. So, we’re answering commonly asked dash cam questions to help you learn more.

What is a dash cam?

Let’s start off with the basics. A dash cam is a camera that attaches to your windshield or dashboard. Depending on the model, it can record what’s going on outside your window, inside the cabin, or at the rear of your car.

Dash cams were initially popularized in Russia to prevent insurance fraud, and you’ve likely seen dash cam footage of crazy road incidents go viral on the internet.

Most early dash cam models would attach to the dashboard of your car, hence their name. But now, most models attach to your windshield for a better angle.

Do dash cams record instantly?

Most dash cams start recording as soon as you start your engine. Using a method called loop recording, dash cams record continuously on a loop, by deleting old footage to make room for the latest recordings.

If you take your dash cam off loop-recording mode, the best dash cams also have sensors that can detect sudden shocks and collisions. When these sensors are activated, the dash cam automatically starts recording. This is a fantastic feature for insurance protection in the case of an accident.

How long does a dash cam record for?

Again, dash cams are typically able to record on a loop. So, as long as there’s a power source, your dash cam should keep recording indefinitely.

Most dash cams generate power from the 12v cigarette lighter while the engine is running. But, if your dash cam is battery-powered, make sure the battery is always charged.

Some dash cams have both batteries and plug-in features. That way, your dash cam not only records while you’re driving using the cigarette lighter, but can also be used as a 24-hour parking monitoring using battery-power.

Are dash cams legal?

Yes, dash cams are legal in the United States. But, there are some restrictions to be aware of.

First of all, dash cam recording is allowed on public roads but not on private property. This falls under your First Amendment protections regarding freedom of speech.

Next, dash cams are legal so long as you’re not breaking other laws in order to use them. For example, stopping in the middle of the road to record something or using your smartphone to operate your VAVA dash cam while driving violates other laws and is, therefore, off-limits.

Lastly, when it comes to the legality of dash cams, recording audio is what you should be more careful about. Oral communication recordings are governed differently based on local laws.

So, to be safe in any circumstance, passengers should always be made aware that their voices are being recorded. Otherwise, you can disable audio recording on your dash cam.

Should you hide your dash cam?

Since dash cams are legal in the U.S., there’s no need to hide them while driving.

Additionally, some may be concerned about leaving dash cams in a parked car. But, you definitely should leave them in order to take advantage of the parking monitor feature. So, again, there’s no need to hide your dash cam while driving or when your car is parked.

Are dash cams worth it?

As we’ve mentioned, dash cams are useful in protecting yourself when dealing with car accident insurance claims and by adding security to your car, even when it’s parked.

However, dash cams are worth it for many other reasons, too. Record your family road trip. Use it to vlog your solo travels. Use it as a mileage tracker. Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers can protect themselves, both inside the cabin and from what’s happening outside.

By recording high-quality dash cam footage, you’re taking advantage of many perks. So, yes – we’d say they’re worth it.

What should I look for in a dash cam?

There are different kinds of dash cams, so what you should look for depends on your needs. For starters, there are single-lens and dual-lens dash cams that offer different features.

If you want a dash cam to protect you from insurance fraud by recording what’s going on outside the car, you’ll be happy with a single-lens dash cam that only records outside your windshield. These are the most basic kinds of dash cams.

Dash cams with a dual-lens get a bit more interesting. Some dual-lens dash cams record both what’s happening outside your windshield and outside the rear of your car. Other dual-lens dash cams can record outside the windshield and what’s happening inside the car.

Additionally, you’ll want to pay attention to the quality of the camera, the field of vision it can capture, its user-friendliness, and additional features like the ability to take still photos.

What is the easiest dash cam to use?

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, there are some dash cams that are extremely easy to use.

For example, our VAVA dash cams are built to be user-friendly, particularly if you already use a smartphone. Without a cluttered design and tiny, confusing buttons, VAVA dash cams connect to a smartphone app, making the whole process intuitive.

Your smartphone even acts as the display of your VAVA dash cam. That way, our cameras can focus on being cameras, while offering a sleek, compact design. And in the meantime, you’ll get a live feed of the footage on your own smartphone screen.

This innovative design gives users customizability and ease of use. So, whether you choose our most basic model or our dash cams with all the bells and whistles, they’re all just as easy to use.

Check out our collection of VAVA dash cams to find the model that’s right for you.