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Aftermarket dash cams bring active safety features to any car

By David Bonnici, 25 Aug 2016 Car News

Navman Mivue 698

Dash cams are getting smarter, with new models promising to help you avoid accidents rather than just film the carnage.

UP UNTIL now, dash cams have been useful for two things – collecting evidence in the event your car is involved in an accident, or, if you’re in Russia, as a shortcut to YouTube fame.

But that looks set to change, with several new feature-rich dash cam models sporting advanced safety features that still aren’t standard equipment on many new cars.

Navman is one brand that’s dipping its toes into the up-spec dash cam space, with higher-end models in its Mivue dash cam range using high-resolution wide-angle cameras and more powerful software to not only film the road, sense when the car – and its occupants – might be in danger..

This means any car with a cigarette lighter socket can gain some great active safety features that have your back if you lose concentration. These include:

1. LANE DEPARTURE WARNING

The dash cam tracks the road lines ahead of you and senses when you start moving too close or going over them, which activates a warning tone in case you’ve nodded off.

2. FRONT COLLISION ALERT

The camera senses when a vehicle or object in front of you is on a collision course and issues an audible alert to prompt you to stop or slow down. While it doesn’t stop the car itself, the extra warning it can give may make the difference between a bit of tyre squeal or a serious prang.

3. DRIVER FATIGUE ALERT

Like the Lane Departure warning this senses when your vehicle starts wandering left and right in an erratic fashion and alerts you in case this is a result of being drowsy behind the wheel.

4. FRONT DEPARTURE WARNING

Not so much a collision avoidance system but it could help prevent road rage by politely telling you that the car in front has driven off in front of you when you’re sitting at an intersection – helping you avoid the wrath of the driver behind you.

Those features are in addition to the usual dash cam capabilities, with shock sensors automatically saving footage and recording the location and time of an impact. Models like the Navman can also record more GPS-derived information such as direction of travel and speed.

You can also activate manual recording by pressing an emergency button which records to an SD card until you press the button again. 

You can get advanced dash cam systems with the above features for around $300 which, even without the cameras and recording technology, is a small spend considering the level of safety tech it can add an older car.

Navman isn’t the only manufacturer to offer such systems either, with Finevu, Xiaomi and Kapture offering their own safety-enhanced dash cams as well.