Garmin Dash Cam 20 Standalone Driving Recorder
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- HD GPS-enabled standalone driving recorder with 2.3-inch LCD display
- Take still images, even remove from vehicle, to capture collision damage
- Integrated microphone records the sounds inside your vehicle
- Incident Detection (G-Sensor) automatically saves footage of collisions and incidents
- Play back the footage on the LCD display or review later on your computer
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This item Garmin Dash Cam 20 Standalone Driving Recorder
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|Item Dimensions||2.69 x 1.45 x 3.23 in||1.35 x 2.69 x 2.48 in||1.36 x 2.76 x 2.48 in||1.35 x 2.64 x 2.85 in|
|Style Name||With GPS||With Suction Mount||With Suction Mount||With Adhesive Mount|
Reliable, Easy-to-use HD Driving Recorder with GPS
- HD GPS standalone driving recorder with 2.3-inch LCD display
- Snapshot feature allows you to take still images, even remove from vehicle to capture collision damage
- Integrated microphone records the sounds inside your vehicle
- Incident Detection sensor automatically saves footage of collisions and incidents
Record in High Definition
Garmin Dash Cam is an easy-to-use high-definition driving recorder with 2.3-inch LCD display. It records both audio and video, with GPS for detailed time and location data pinpointing exactly where and when events occurred. Mount the camera to your windshield and record your drive in 1080p, 720p or WVGA. Dash Cam records in a continuous loop, using the included 4 GB microSD™ card. To add more memory, add a larger microSD card (accepts up to 32 GB, sold separately. Class 10 required). Play back the footage on the LCD display or review later on your computer.
The camera has a wide-angle lens that captures the entire road. Its integrated microphone gives you the option of recording audio inside the vehicle.
Your Eyewitness That Never Blinks
No need to worry about starting and stopping. If Dash Cam is plugged into a powered source, it is recording.
All footage is stamped with time and location so you know exactly when and where events occurred. When reviewing footage on your computer, you’ll have a record of latitude, longitude, date, time, speed and direction of travel.
The camera features automatic incident detection (G-Sensor) with customizable sensitivity settings. When an incident – like hard braking or a collision – is detected, your camera knows to save the current, last and next recordings; thereby, preserving a complete record of the event.
For a close-up view of vehicle or property damage, you can remove Dash Cam from your vehicle and take snapshots.
Top customer reviews
DOWNLOAD the free software for this cam at Garmin's web site. It shows even more data along with the video such as a map of where you are located and real time G-force data! It also works on mac. Although, if you want to edit videos with IMovie on mac youll need to convert the .AVI files to MP4 or another compatible format. I use a free program called Handbrake to convert the files and that works perfectly. Get this cam and you won't regret it!
This review has TWO PARTS.
In PART 1, I will review several features of this dash cam, and list several tips for using it.
In PART 2, I will describe FOUR good reasons why you should have this: 1) An accident I had the day before I purchased this dash cam; 2) and 3) two incidents where I was almost hit; and 4) an incident where I luckily avoided an accident (2, 3 & 4 shown in videos).
PART 2 (except videos) may not be a direct review of this dash cam but rather my personal experience with the accident that made me buy it and the events that followed. But it will give you an idea about why you need such a high-quality and reliable dash cam.
PROS: Although it is expensive (I paid $250; the price is dropping), you get what you pay for: Wide-angle, Video/Picture Quality, Time/Speed/Location Stamp, G-Sensor, reliability.
1) Mount falls off occasionally. See "THE MOUNT" in PART 1.
2) Garmin should provide a coiled cord. See "CHARGER / CORD" in PART 1.
3) Freezes after snapshots (UPDATE 5-23-2015: LATEST SOFTWARE 3.60 HAS SOLVED THIS PROBLEM).
The video you see here contains THREE CLIPS (see below for description). While the originals are high definition (1080P; 1920x1080), I trimmed them, and reduced their resolution to 854x480, because of the 100 MB limit by Amazon. The videos you see here pause every half second, but not in the originals. You can view the full clips with much better (but still lower than the original) quality at the following links:
FEATURES AND TIPS
- Completely Hands-Off: Always leave connected to power source in your car (with a card inside); it will start & stop recording when you turn the ignition on & off.
- Battery: Lasts 1 hour.
- Continuous Loop Recording (overwriting oldest, non-locked video clips).
- Wide-Angle Camera.
- Stamps Time, Speed, Location (Longitude, Latitude) on video footage (using GPS).
- G-Sensor detects collision and locks the video clips.
- G-Sensor sensitivity: High, Normal (default), Low, Off.
- Protected Video Overwrite: Off (default), On. "On" overwrites the locked video clips.
- Recording Mode: 1080P (1920x1080) / 720P / WVGA (use highest definition for best quality).
- Audio Record: On / Off.
- Power Off Delay: Off (default) / 1, 3, 5 minutes. "Off" records for 15 seconds after power loss.
- Screen Auto Off (default): If checked, the screen dims one minute after power on or using any button.
- Button Sound: On / Off.
- Speed Unit: MPH / Km/h.
- Text Language: English / French / Italian / German / Spanish / Polish / Russian / etc.
- File Delete: You can delete files individually, which I never do (I re-format the card periodically).
- Restore Default Settings.
- Event Beep Alert: On / Off (alerts when the G-sensor detects an event).
- Date Format: MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY.
- Time Zone.
- Time Format: 12-Hour (AM/PM; default) / 24-Hour. I suggest 24-Hour format (see TIME FORMAT below).
- Format Memory Card.
- Memory Card: Uses Class 10 Micro SD Card (up to 32 GB). Comes with 4 GB card.
- Daylight Saving: On / Off. It doesn't change automatically. Select "On" in the spring, and "Off" in the fall.
2) MAKE SURE IT IS RECORDING:
Always make sure the red solid light stays on, an indication it is indeed recording. Without card inside, it won't record but show solid green light.
3) POWERING ON / OFF:
It is completely "hands-off." Connect it to the power source in your car (with a card inside), and forget it. When you start your car, it will turn on and start recording. When you turn off the ignition, it will turn off and stop recording after a period of time, depending on your selection in "Power Off Delay" setting. There are 4 options: Off (default), or 1, 3, or 5 minutes (default "Off" still records for 15 seconds after power loss).
4) POWER BUTTON:
Because it has a battery, you can use it like any camera / camcorder. After an accident, you can take pictures and videos of the damage. This is the only time you need to use the power button, which is on the upper left side. The power button is very sensitive to touch. Touching it lightly will turn it on and start recording. So when handling the dash cam, you will be inadvertently touching the power button and start recording very often, until you learn how to avoid it. Touching the power button while recording will turn on the display if it is dimmed, or turn off the dash cam if the display is on (not dimmed) although still connected to power source. So NEVER TOUCH the power button while driving/recording when the display is on.
5) LOCKING CLIPS MANUALLY & TAKING SNAPSHOT:
There are 4 small buttons below the screen. From left to right: Lock/Save, Menu, Play, Snapshot. When driving (recording), by pushing a button, you can lock the clips manually or take snapshots. So you only need to memorize the buttons on the left (Lock) and right (Snapshot). If you miss taking a snapshot during driving, don't worry: you can always take a snapshot from the video while you are playing it on your computer (using Print Screen).
By default, the screen dims (Screen Auto Off) one minute after power on or using any button. If the screen is already dimmed, the first push of any button will only turn the screen on (a short beep), and then you have to push the same button again for the actual function. So if the screen is dimmed, you push the button on the left TWICE to manually lock the clip, or you push the button on the right TWICE to take a snapshot. When you push the first time, you hear a short beep turning the screen on. When you push the second time, you hear 3 short beeps for the Lock button; or you hear a shutter sound for the Snapshot button. I locked the clips manually in VIDEO # 2 at 17:23:19 and in VIDEO # 3 at 10:59:20 (in Dropbox; 3 short beeps).
Of course, you can uncheck the "Screen Auto Off" in the settings so the screen will always be on (caution: distraction at night), and so you just push the Lock or Snapshot button only once for the actual function.
6) TIME FORMAT:
If you use the default 12-Hour (AM/PM) format, for the time interval between 12:00 noon and 12:59 PM, sometimes the video records/shows as AM instead of PM (e.g., 12:15 AM, instead of 12:15 PM). I changed the time format to 24-hour format, which fixed the problem, which is also more universal than the 12-Hour (AM/PM) format.
7) EXPOSURE VALUE (VIDEO / PICTURE QUALITY):
It has 3 levels. I suggest you use the maximum. The factory setting for the exposure (set at 0) doesn't provide much brightness both in the videos and pictures (especially on cloudy days), even if you use the highest definition. I set the exposure setting to the maximum, and now it produces brighter videos and images.
8) THE G-SENSOR / EVENT DETECTION:
G-Sensor Sensitivity: High, Normal (default), Low, Off. The G-sensor detects collision / impact, and locks the previous, current and the next 4-minute clips (clips are 4 minutes at 1080P). These clips will be locked permanently, until you delete them manually or reformat the card, or unless if you had turned on the "Protected Video Overwrite" in the settings.
I noticed, when I make sharp right turns, the G-Sensor is activated very often. Changing sensor setting to "Low" solved it. Interestingly, when I go over the speed bumps at 35 mph, it doesn't activate the sensor, even when it is set to "medium" (see Video # 3, where I go over speed bumps using the cruise control). I suppose the sensor only detects the impact from sides of the vehicle, and not from beneath. The manual says, for this reason I guess, you must calibrate the sensor after you install the device in your car.
9) PROTECTED VIDEO OVERWRITE:
Off (default), On. If you select "On", locked clips (whether locked manually or by the G-sensor) will be overwritten. I suggest you leave it at "Off." Although eventually the card will get full with locked clips, you will get a warning and so you can re-format the card (you can also reformat periodically).
10) DON'T LET THE CARD GET FULL:
The dash cam saves every 4-minute clip as a file (clips are 4 minutes at 1080P); and when the G-Sensor detects an event, it locks the preceding, the current, and the following clips so they won't be over-written. If too many clips are locked, you will receive a warning that little space is left on the card. I don't want to receive this warning in the middle of driving, so I re-format the card periodically. Make sure when you re-format the card, there is no video clip on the card you want to keep. Using the maximum capacity 32-GB card and setting the sensor sensitivity to "Low" will also help with this, as it will take longer for the card to get full with the locked video clips.
11) KEEP A SPARE CARD:
The dash cam has no internal memory. So if the memory card suddenly breaks down in the middle of driving, you are stuck unless you have a spare card in your car. So I would keep a spare card in the car (if you have purchased the maximum capacity 32-GB card as I did, you can keep, as a spare in your car, the 4-GB card that came with the dash cam, or any other capacity card).
12) THE MOUNT:
The mount is not the best (although sturdy and doesn't shake during driving). It falls off occasionally. Certainly you don't want this to happen when you need the camera (just before an accident). You can loop the cord around the rear-view mirror, but this only prevents the mount and camera from falling on the floor. My solution: When placing the suction cup on the windshield, make sure you apply good pressure around the whole suction cup simultaneously, before locking. When you want to remove the camera, only detach the camera from the mount, and leave the mount in place. But when detaching the camera from the mount, don't pull it down forcefully; instead, gently tilt the camera to the left or right, until it nicely detaches itself from the mount. When you attach the camera back to the mount, you need to push it a little hard upward, using both hands.
My wife was complaining the mount was falling off often. So I purchased the following item for her, and she began using it on 7-23-2014. I keep asking her periodically if it ever falls off, and as of 8-5-2015, her answer is still "No, never." I purchased the same mount for myself, but for now I am keeping it in the glove box just in case.
Arkon Replacement Upgrade or Additional Windshield Dashboard Suction Mounting Pedestal for Garmin nuvi 40 50 1450 1200 GPS
13) THE CHARGER / CORD:
The cord is straight (not coiled) and too long. I wished Garmin provided a coiled cord. You can buy chargers with coiled cords, but the dash cam will prompt you to cancel the USB mass storage mode each time it is powered. I purchased some charge-only chargers with coiled cords, but they were either too short or the power would be on and off intermittently. I either returned them or tossed into garbage. Finally, I've found the solution:
Step 1): I purchased a compact car charger with dual USB ports.
SCOSCHE USBC242M 12 Watts per port (24W/4.8A total output) USB Car Charger - the FASTEST CHARGE RATE for Apple and Android Devices - Retail Packaging - Black
If your car has already a USB port, skip Step 1 and go Step 2.
Step 2): On E...y, I found a charge-only (no data) coiled mini USB cord (search for "Fast Charger Charging ONLY Coiled Mini USB Power Cable for Garmin Dash Cam"). It is 19-inch long before it is stretched (the coiled section is 6-inch long before it is stretched). In my car, it reaches the power source with a little bit of stretching. As I do not want any tension on the cord, I added a short (6-inch) standard USB extension cord between the SCOSCHE charger and the charge-only coiled mini USB cord, and now it looks perfect and functions perfectly.
14) THE DISPLAY / SCREEN:
If the default "Screen Auto Off" is selected, the screen dims one minute after power on or using any button. I WISH the screen had the option showing speed and direction. Actually, displaying the "GPS Status" in the menu will show (continuously, if "Screen Auto Off" unchecked) your speed during driving, but too small (impossible to see while driving). I hope Garmin will give this option on the screen either with a new software update, or in the next generation. The screen practically becomes useless during driving. Why not make some use of the screen while it is recording?
15) VIEWING VIDEOS / PICTURES:
Although you can view videos / pictures directly on the device screen (very small; cannot see stamped information), it is better to view them on your computer, for which you don't need special software. You can either connect the device directly to your computer using the USB cord, or remove the card and insert into your computer.
16) THE SOFTWARE TO PLAY VIDEO ON COMPUTER:
Garmin has an optional Dash Cam Player software at:
You can view the list of locked clips. While playing the video, a car icon moves on the map, showing the location of your car. It also shows the direction and impact level in real time.
17) THE SOFTWARE FOR DASH CAM:
You can download the optional "Garmin Express" software to your computer, and add the Dash Cam as a device after connecting to your computer (you can add any Garmin device to the "Garmin Express" software). When there is an update for the dash cam, it will notify you so you can connect your dash cam to your computer and update the device software. Make sure you have the latest version 3.60, which solves the freeze problem.
18) VIDEO EVIDENCE WHEN YOU ARE HIT FROM BEHIND:
If your car is hit from the front, you have the evidence to show whose fault it really is (as shown in my videos). But what about if your car is hit from behind? Here are the two scenarios:
Scenario A: You are moving with the traffic. A driver hits you from behind, and claims you suddenly slowed down or stopped for no reason, and it is your fault.
Scenario B: You are stationary (waiting for the red traffic light to turn green, or parked in a parking lot). A driver hits you from behind, and claims you backed into him/her instead of driving forward.
Regarding those scenarios, I was thinking about mounting another dash cam (maybe cheaper) on rear windshield. However, I have concluded that is not necessary. The video recorded by the dash cam mounted on the front windshield will also serve as your evidence to prove it is not your fault if you are hit from behind, as described below:
In scenario A, the video will show you were indeed driving forward (and not slowing down or stopping suddenly) at the time you were hit (it will even show your speed). In scenario B, the video will show you were indeed stationary (and not backing into the other car) at the time you were hit (it will even show your speed as 0 mph). In either case, you will have the evidence you were the one who was hit from behind.
19) READING / EXTRACTING LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS:
I use the dash cam using the highest definition (1080P) and the maximum exposure (brightest) setting for video recording, and when I play the video on my notebook, I am able to read the license plate number of a vehicle right in front of me. The VIDEO #1 & # 2 here on Amazon have a lower resolution of 854x480, because I had to reduce the file size.
The license plate number in VIDEO #1:
In Video #1 here, you can barely read the license plate number of the SUV backing into me. If you watch the same video on Dropbox (with better resolution), you can see the license plate number of that same SUV more clearly. But I see it even much better when I watch the original video on my notebook.
The license plate number in VIDEO #2:
In Video #2 here, there is no way you can read the license plate number of the black SUV backing into me (even when you pause the video), because the video was recorded from the side relative to the license plate. If you watch the same video on Dropbox (with better resolution), and pause the video while the black SUV was going back into its previous parking spot, you can guess some numbers and letters on the license plate, but not so sure. And even when I watch the original of the same Video #2 on my notebook, I am still not so sure of the numbers and letters on the license plate.
For about a week, I thought there was no way to read the license plate number of that black SUV backing into me in VIDEO #2. Then I figured out how to accomplish it: I played the original video on my notebook, using the "full screen" mode. While the black SUV was going back into its previous parking spot, I paused the video just before it disappeared from the view (the best position to read its license plate). I took a screenshot of my notebook's screen, by pressing and holding the "F" (Function) key, and then pressing the "Print Screen" key on the keyboard. Then, I opened the "Paint" program that came with Microsoft Windows (or any other photo editing software), and pasted the image (can use "Control+V" keys as shortcut). Then I saved the image as a JPG file. Then I opened the JPG image file, and I zoomed in to the maximum. I was able to read the license plate perfectly. While zoomed in, I took another screenshot of the screen, and saved it as another JPG file. Then I made the image even much clearer and brighter using the "Enhance" function of another photo editing software.
20) IF YOU ARE HIT:
If you are ever hit by another car (not your fault), don't mention anything to the other driver about your dash cam. Do the following in sequence:
- If your dash cam didn't lock the video clip of the accident automatically (very unlikely), i.e., if it didn't make the locking sound (3 short beeps), lock the video clip manually by pressing the lock button (you may have to press twice, if the screen was dim). Or just remove the card and save it.
- Call 911 for the police. Actually, if the damage seems more than $500, you are required to report it to the police.
- If the other driver denies his/her fault, and lies to the police officer, let him/her tell the police officer his/her own version of the story. And you tell the police officer your version of the story.
- Only after he/she is done lying to the police officer, and only when the police officer is about to go in his/her car to prepare the Crash Report, tell the police officer you have evidence (dash cam video) to prove your version of the story. Show / play the video clip. Maybe you can even connect your dash cam to his/her computer, or remove the card and insert into his/her computer (so always keep a USB cable and micro SD adapter in your car).
- And finally, let the other driver be charged twice by the police: one for causing the accident, and another one for lying to the police officer (i.e., for obstructing justice).
THE FOUR REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE THIS DASH CAM
REASON # 1 (An accident I had)
I had been thinking about buying a dash cam a while ago, but I just kept delaying. On 6-30-2014, I was waiting in a left turn lane, waiting for the red traffic light to turn green, with a few vehicles in front of me, and with plenty of distance between my car and the SUV in the front. When the light turned green (green left arrow), the vehicles started to make their left turn. While I was still stationary (and getting ready to move), I suddenly realized the SUV in front of me was accelerating backwards, with its reverse lights on. By the time my brain processed what was going on, and by the time I finished saying, "Oh my God!" and honking, I had already been hit very badly. I got out and looked at the heavy damage on the front of my car. The other driver came out and said very calmly, "Are you OK sir?" I said, "No, I am not OK. Look at the damage!" She said, "I mean, you. Are you OK?" I said, "I am OK, but not the car." Then I asked her, "What happened? You were accelerating backwards." She said, again very calmly, "No sir. I think you were too close." I said, "What!? You were accelerating backwards and you hit me. You are lying." She said, again very calmly, "No sir, I think you were too close." I again said, "No, you are lying." Her vehicle had a very huge rubber bumper on the back, and so there was not even a scratch afterwards.
We pulled the cars into a nearby parking lot. She suggested we exchange information but I called 911 for the police. We waited for the police for more than an hour (as there was no injury, I guess). She told the police officer her story, and I told him my story. The police officer said the way I described how it happened is plausible, although it doesn't happen often. He said it is nobody's fault. I told him I was the one who called the police, and asked him why I would have called the police if I had hit her vehicle from behind. He again said there was no way to tell how it happened; it could have happened either way, and nobody would get a ticket. I said to him, "That is not fair." But there was nothing he could do.
The fact that she was very calm right after hitting me suggests she had a history of causing accidents. If I had been in her place (hitting another car as my fault), I would have been nervous, and shown the sign of it.
I also found it interesting she never said to me, "You hit me," but, "You were too close." If somebody hits me from behind, I would never say, "You were too close;" but instead, "You hit me." I realized later she knew the best words to use when she causes an accident like this. The phrase "You were too close" is very vague; it neither admits nor denies the fault; and it could mean either way. It could mean "You hit me," or it could mean "I was driving backwards but you were too close to me so you didn't give me enough space and time before I realized I was accelerating backwards and before I depressed the brake pedal to stop." I always maintain plenty of safe distance when I stop behind other vehicles. So how much distance was I supposed to maintain to give her enough time to realize she was accelerating backwards? So she knew exactly what she was saying. I guess saying "You were too close" is just safer than saying "You hit me," just in case video surveillance evidence or a witness pops up.
I filed a claim on line with my insurance company. A couple of weeks later, an agent from my insurance company called me, and I described everything in detail. Several weeks later, an agent form the other driver's insurance company called me, and again I described everything in detail. What is even more interesting than what that driver said to me right after hitting me (i.e., "You were too close") is the same exact phrase her insurance company used in a letter sent to my insurance company. Her insurance company sent a letter on 8-19-2014 to my insurance company as well as a copy of it to me. The letter said, "After careful investigation, we have found that our insured was not legally responsible for the accident. As a result, we will not be able to make any payment for the following reasons: The claimant violated statutes limitation Florida Statute 316.0895, following too closely. The proximate cause of this accident was claimant's failure to maintain a safe distance behind the insured vehicle as prescribed in Florida Statute 316.0895, following too closely. The claimant owed the duty of not following the insured vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent and breeched this duty owed." Again, her insurance company knew exactly what they were saying. By saying, "You were too close," they also neither admitted nor denied the fault, and saying "You were too close" is just safer than saying "You hit our insured."
Also, I think part of the reason she didn't admit the fault is the advice from insurance companies that they never admit the fault to anybody after an auto accident, even if it is their fault. For example, one insurance company's website says this: "Immediately After an Accident ..... Be polite, but don't tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was." Well, "anyone" includes the police officer, the insurance agent, the judge, etc. Some people will translate this advice as "DON'T ADMIT the fault, even if it is your fault." So why not advise, "Don't tell anyone (except the police officer, the insurance agent, the judge, etc.) the accident was your fault, even if you think it was"?
Since she probably didn't know anything about dash cams, she took the risk when she lied to the police officer. I could have had a dash cam in my car, and I could have shown the evidence (video) only to the police officer right after she lied to the police officer. In this case, she would have been charged twice by the police: one for causing the accident, and another one for lying to the police officer (i.e., for obstructing justice).
The day after I was hit, I went on Amazon to look at the dash cams. First, I was inclined to buy one of those cheaper than $25. Then I saw this Garmin dash cam with the GPS feature, and I immediately bought 2 of them; one for myself and one for my wife.
The total cost to replace the hood, the fenders, the headlights, the front bumper, the grilles, etc., with the originals was $3,500, of which I had to pay $500 as deductible, plus I had to pay 20% for the rental car for 6 days. What is more disturbing than the monetary cost is it was not fair, and I had no way to prove it.
Since I got my driver's license 25 years ago, I have been driving mostly stick-shift (manual transmission) cars, which gives better control of the car and keeps the driver more alert, compared to the cars with automatic transmission, and I have never had an accident like this before. No matter how careful you are and no matter how much distance you keep between your car and other cars, there will always be a situation like this you will be caught up in.
ADDED ON 11-6-2014: Yesterday, I left my car at the dealer's service center for maintenance service, and I had a complimentary ride home. I shared the ride with a lady (Lady A). She mentioned, while driving a while ago, another car had hit her car from behind. But the driver of that other car (Lady B) denied, and instead claimed Lady A had backed into her (Lady B's) car. But two witnesses came forward, and Lady B was charged for the accident. I told her she was lucky to have witnesses. So even if your car gets hit from behind, don't be surprised if the other driver blames you of backing into his/her car. And you may not always have a witness.
REASON # 2 (VIDEO # 1)
On 7-8-2014, my dash cam recorded the VIDEO # 1 (one week after I was hit on 6-30-2014).
The time in this clip shows 12:xx AM, instead of 12:xx PM (a problem occurring between 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM; setting time format to 24-hour format fixes the problem).
The video shows I could have had a similar incident again one week later and the driver could claim the same thing, i.e., I was the one hitting his/her car from behind. In the video, the left turn green traffic light (green arrow) was on and the cars were making their left turns. The green arrow disappeared, and only the green solid light stayed on. The driver in the front hesitated to complete the left turn, and stopped close to the middle of the intersection. Then he/she decided to back up, to the point of almost hitting me, although I gave him/her enough space to back up. Only when I honked did he/she stop backing up. Otherwise it would have hit me, and without the camera/video, I would have no evidence to prove what would have happened. What had happened to me one week earlier was the same, except that the driver one week later backed up slowly, whereas the driver one week earlier had accelerated backwards (as if accelerating forward). I sent this video clip (as well as my Amazon receipts for the 2 dash cams) to my insurance company to show them things like this happen and it is not always the fault of the driver in the back.
REASON # 3 (VIDEO # 2)
On 10-15-2014, my dash cam recorded the VIDEO # 2.
I was driving in a parking lot. At the beginning of the Video # 2, you see two black SUVs on the right side, both in parked position.
As I was moving very slowly, the second black SUV on the right side started to back up. So I stopped behind the first black SUV on my right. Note, when I stopped behind the first black SUV on my right, its reverse lights were off, so it is not that I stopped behind a vehicle that had already started to back up.
While I was waiting behind the first black SUV for the second black SUV to finish backing up, the driver of the first black SUV decided to back up, which is fine. You would expect a sane driver to mind to turn his/her head to check the right, the left and the back before depressing the gas pedal, right? Yes, but only sane drivers. So don't assume all the drivers out there are sane.
When I saw the reverse lights of the SUV came on, and when the SUV started to back up. I said to myself, "Not again! I don't need another accident caused by another insane driver backing into me, after being hit by an insane driver accelerating in reverse less than four months ago (on 6-30-2014)."
Instead of honking, I quickly thought, in a split of second, of backing up my own car to avoid the collision. But, in a split of second again, I realized I didn't have enough time to back up. By the time I would have turned my head to check the right, the left and the back of my car; and by the time I would have changed the gear to reverse and have depressed the gas pedal; and by the time I would have gotten out of his/her way, it would have been way too late and I would have already been hit.
So I started to honk, and honk, and honk. While honking, seeing how close it became to my car, I was so sure, during those few seconds, I was about to be hit. I was saying, "That's it. I'm hit. There is no way to avoid it."
From the time I started honking, it took the driver of that SUV five "long" seconds, before he/she finally heard all the honking I had made, and before he/she finally figured out all that honking was for him/her and not for somebody else. It turned out he/she was not deaf after all.
When he/she finally depressed the brake pedal, and drove forward back into his/her previous parking spot, I was still pondering how come I was not hit. Seeing it as it happened, and watching the video afterwards, I almost believed, during those five "long" seconds, the laws of physics were violated (call it a miracle, or whatever you wish to call). Based on what I saw during those five "long" seconds, I should have been hit by that SUV, but I wasn't.
I was lucky he/she was backing up towards rear-left. If he/she had been backing up towards rear-right (towards me), I would have been hit during the first second of my honking.
Again, that driver could claim the same thing as the driver who hit me while she was accelerating in reverse on 6-30-2014, that he/she was backing up slowly and carefully in the parking lot, and I, suddenly appearing out of nowhere and driving very fast, hit his/her SUV from behind. And without the camera/video, I would have no evidence to prove what really happened. I also sent this video clip to my insurance company.
When I was learning how to drive more than 25 years ago, I was taught, before backing up, I had to turn my upper body to the right, place my left hand at the top of the steering wheel, and place my right hand behind the passenger seat, and then back up slowly while looking back mostly and looking forward intermittently. I guess that has become an old fashion now.
REASON # 4 (VIDEO # 3)
On 11-16-2014, my dash cam recorded the VIDEO # 3.
See 10:58:45. If that had resulted in an accident, do you think the parents of those kids or anybody else would have believed the driver's version of the story? In this kind of situation, you will have no witness other than your own dash cam video.
Pros: beyond simple set up. Rugged construction. Camera hangs down from sturdy mount for unobstructed view and easy adjustment.
GPS time, date and location stamp on video files.
Cons: expensive compared to other units. Doesn't work well with non Garmin cables.
* Update *
Garmin was great about getting us a new (remanufactured) device. Unfortunately, the second one from Garmin was way worse than the original. It seized up after about 5 minutes, and has continued to seize up regularly, requiring a power on reset. In addition, the device sometimes exhibits weird behavior where the frame rate on the display appears to slow down, and pushing the buttons to set up the device can also cause it to go into la-la land.
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