It occurred to me later that, had I hit him and caused him injury (which was entirely possible in the circumstances, as I only pulled up about 2-3 metres away from him), I would have had a hell of a job convincing people (the police and the courts, mainly) that I was not driving carelessly or improperly. Could I prove I was well within the speed limit and driving at a speed appropriate to the conditions? Could I prove the lights were in my favour and that his weren't? Sadly, my assumption is that I would be automatically held to blame as the motorist in the absence of evidence otherwise, and it would be up to me to prove my innocence rather then the other way round. An experience of the courts a few years ago with a speeding case has left me with no faith whatsoever in the reasonableness or impartiality of the justice system.
So I am thinking about getting a dash cam. One of those devices that fasten to the inside of the windscreen and record basically what the driver sees. I understand that some of them have a 'looping' feature, where the cam records for 10-20 minutes or so and then starts recording over the stored footage. That would be ideal for this situation, as it is usually only the last 30 seconds or so that would be relevant in the case of an accident. Of course, a facility for continuous recording would be good too, of reasonable quality for putting on the Web. And if it could be waterproof and motorcycle-mountable, well ...
But I get ahead of myself. I have checked out what's available online, and it seems you could spend anything from about £40 to over £200 on one of these devices, and the cheap ones seem to have a lot of the required features. I know some of you will have one of these, or something similar and relevant. Any advice for someone who wants good functionality without spending a fortune? Requirements would be:
- Reasonable colour image quality and frame rate
- SD card or similar storage for easy transfer to PC
- Format compatible with other devices, i.e. mpeg, mov, avi etc.
- Looping facility
Nice to have:
- Still or time-lapse facility
- Inbuilt screen to frame the correct view when setting up
- Weather resistance
- Compatible with large storage cards for extended use
- 12v and battery operation
- Flexibility in mounting (i.e. helmet or motorcycle).
As an aside, if you haven't already done so, go to YouTube and search for 'Russian dashcams' if you want a real fright. Apparently so many Russian drivers are uninsured that a lot of people (especially commercial drivers like truckers) have a dashcam running routinely to provide evidence for when the inevitable happens. Some of the footage is merely funny, but some will scare the pants off you. I'm convinced many Russian drivers either have a death wish, or are blind drunk, or both.
Anyway, over to you ...