Dashcams are becoming an increasingly popular aftermarket accessory for Aussie drivers. There’s plenty of footage being shared online of some very average human behaviour behind the wheel.
Gone are the days where you’d make an innocent mistake and your friendly drivers nearby would give you a friendly middle finger wave and you’d all move on with your live.
These days, dashcams are so prolific that you should reasonably expect that your driving will be caught on video and shared online. Facebook groups like Dash Cam Owners Australia have more than 750,000 followers, with their monthly compilations offering a great sample of just how bad some Australians are behind the wheel.
Sometimes driving mistakes are genuinely a bad decision, misjudging timing or are a result of indecision. Raising your hand to admit the mistake and appologise is usually fine assuming the mistake resulted in a near miss.
Once a collision happens, often a result of intentional decisions to disregard the road rules or traffic signals, then you should expect the footage to be sent to the police and insurance companies. When that happens, your ability to argue who’s at fault reduces to zero. If an image tells a 1,000 words, video tells a million.
Back in March last year, the Citroen C3 became the first vehicle to go on sale in Australia with a built-in dashcam. I’m sure the 3 people who own one are really happy with it.
The more serious entrant to the market is the Tesla Model 3 which is due to hit the streets of Australia this week. The car originally came with a suite of cameras around the vehicle that helped power Tesla’s Autopilot system, but when software V9.0 rolled around, they enabled the ability to record dashcam.
When the Model 3 arrives, owners simply insert a USB thumbdrive into one of the available USB slots to provide the storage for dashcam video. When there’s something interesting to publish, just take the thumbdrive out and connect it to a PC, transfer and upload the files.
There are utilities to combine the footage from the front and two side cameras, syncing the time codes of each and giving a more surround view of the vehicle at the time of the incident. Unfortunately the camera that’s missing is one at the rear, but it’s feasible that the reversing camera may be enabled in a future update.
After watching dashcam footage of what’s actually going on, on our roads, autonomous vehicles can’t arrive soon enough. When the challenge is to be better than humans, it seems the benchmark is not very high, with many struggling with the concept of driveable space, road markings, and navigating intersections.