The latest conversation regarding safety while driving is one every driver should consider.
While your chances of getting into a car accident vary on several criteria, in 2019, the United States reported 6.74 million police-reported accidents.
The key word there is “police-reported.”
It’s impossible to count the number of hit-and-run accidents that occur each day.
Drivers are starting to combat this by installing a dashboard camera.
A simple search on Amazon will turn up several options.
But if you already own a GoPro, then you can use your GoPro as a dash cam.
Table Of Contents
Why Use a Dash Cam?
There are many reasons to use a dash cam.
Below are the top reasons.
1. Evidence in Car Accidents
Inevitably, we all get into car accidents, regardless of how defensive we are behind the wheel.
If no witnesses are available, it’s your word against theirs.
Drivers who have dashboard cameras can offer evident proof of what occurred.
They can be installed in the front and rear windshield, giving you protection from all angles.
Many drivers have taken to YouTube to share what their cameras have caught.
2. Capture Crime
Car accidents aren’t the only incident in which dash cams prove their worth.
There have been many reported incidents of crimes caught on dash cam footage.
Drivers for rideshare apps have passengers vandalizing their cars on camera (Uber’s website endorses drivers to invest in one).
Courts have used dash cam footage for worse incidents such as carjacking and homicide.
3. Prevent Insurance Fraud
Regardless of your involvement in an accident, the video footage your dash cam captures could keep someone from getting scammed in a fraudulent insurance claim.
In addition to the footage captured, most dash cams feature additional information, such as speed and GPS tracking.
All the necessary data is present to keep you safe from those who may wish to spin untrue accounts of the incident.
Can You Use Your GoPro as a Dash Cam?
The GoPro, marketed as the “world’s most versatile camera,” has become a favorite in the world of action cameras.
Operators of the famous camera enjoy recording extreme sports, aspects of nature, or their day-to-day endeavors.
The simple answer to the question above is yes!
You can use the long-favored action cam as a dash camera.
Given that the cameras capture quick-action shots, one might think this camera would be the ideal choice for a dedicated dash cam (especially if you already have one on hand).
Should You Use Your GoPro as a Dash Cam?
You know you can use a GoPro in your vehicle, but the question begs: should you?
Let’s dig deeper into the upsides and downsides of using a GoPro to protect yourself behind the wheel.
Pros of Using a GoPro as a Dashcam
One of the things making GoPro so popular is its marketing strategy.
Even just reciting the name is fun to do.
But several things stand out that make the GoPro camera an easy choice for those looking for a dash cam.
- Lightweight: the GoPro models are all marketed as cameras that “won’t weigh you down.” Given this, a GoPro suction cup mount would do the trick to keep your camera in place for a front or rear camera.
- Image stabilization: the GoPro cameras are great action cameras equipped with video stabilizers. Dashcam footage will remain steady and easy to view later, despite any bumps you may encounter.
- Great for night video recording: The Hero10 model boasts the ability to record in low-lit environments, making nighttime driving just as good a time as any to record your driving.
Cons of Using a GoPro as a Dashcam
- Price: While handy and efficient, the GoPro is a spendy choice. The cheapest model, the Hero8, brings a price tag of $279 before shipping and tax. Those looking for a practical but inexpensive option may not find what they’re looking for here.
- Intent: While your GoPro cam may include a GoPro mount, they are not conducive to being placed on a dashboard. You may have to get creative on securing your camera in your vehicle.
- Battery: Full-time rideshare drivers may be wary of choosing the GoPro as their camera of choice, given that their most elaborate model only boasts a battery life of 4 hours unless you use a USB cable to keep it charging.
Conclusion: Should You Use a GoPro as a Dashcam?
We must always weigh the pros and cons before deciding which product to choose.
While it offers better video quality features than other dash cams may, you might want to explore more criteria before marrying yourself to the GoPro.
What Useful Dash Cam Features is a GoPro Missing?
1. 2 Channel Functionality
Sometimes what we need to record is behind us.
To capture what happens in both the front and rear of the vehicle, you’d need to order two separate GoPro cameras.
Purchasing two cameras is both expensive and impractical for drivers.
Instead, you’d be wise to seek options featuring 2-channel functionality- meaning you receive a front and rear-facing camera in your order.
2. Simpler Wiring
While the GoPro does not require any wires to be connected while in use, it would be wise to have a charging cable plugged in to keep your camera rolling.
However, this puts a wire in your line of sight, potentially causing additional distractions on the road.
Other dashboard camera options feature fewer wires, becoming safer choices.
3. Motion Detector
The GoPro records continuously until turned off, which may not always be what you need.
Many dash cams feature a motion sensor that begins recording when the camera detects a change in light or new objects appearing and stops when motion ceases.
Each GoPro option includes a 32GB SD card to store video.
If you desire a higher storage SD card, you must buy that separately and in addition to the card that already comes with the camera.
While other dash cam options also require SD cards, some feature internal storage, alleviating the need for SD cards.
5. Battery Life
As previously mentioned, the best battery life offered by a GoPro model is four hours.
While this is nice, it may be wise to choose a camera that is built with or includes a battery lasting a more realistic length of time for driving.
6. Parking Mode
Parking mode is a plus for a dash cam.
The feature acts as a parking monitor, allowing the camera to begin recording when visual or physical motion detection occurs when the car is parked or if the ignition is off.
If anything should happen to or around your vehicle while you’re away, it automatically saves to the memory card for you.
7. Safety Alerts
Several dash cams come with safety alerts such as detecting collisions, alerting you when you leave lane lines, and so much more.
Some also offer voice control, which helps keep your hands on the wheel while still operating your camera.
The Best Dash Cams to Use Instead of a GoPro
We’ve researched for you! Here are three of the best choices you can make while shopping for a dash cam.
The Best Dash Cams to Use Instead of a GoPro (Overview)
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
1. Nextbase 622GW
- 4K Recording: The 622GW records in top of the range 4K quality. When trying to make out finer details or capturing that all important number plate,4K recording quality is as good as it gets in a Dash Cam. While your Dash Cam records at 4K, your Rear Camera Module can record at an impressive 1080p, covering your car from multiple angles and giving you greater peace of mind.
- Image Stabilisation: The 622GW Dash Cam features a new image stabilisation system which greatly diminishes the effect vibrations from your vehicle and bumps in the road have on your footage quality. This means when you playback 622GW footage it will be very steady and finer details, such as number plates, have never been easier to make out.
- 5GHz Wi-Fi: The 622GW Dash Cam has Dual 2.4GHz & 5GHz Wi-Fi, the latter of which has never before been featured in a Dash Cam. What does this mean for you? You will have the fastest transfer speeds possible, allowing you to download footage from your 622GW onto your phone quicker than ever.
- Defogging: Fog is a major cause of road traffic incidents in the UK and the ability to “see through fog” could prove vital in identifying vehicles and number plates where you wouldn’t be able to without this feature. Whether you are involved in or witness an incident in foggy conditions this is the only Dash Cam which will defog the footage.
- Super Slow Motion: Super Slow Motion is an upgrade on our previous Dash Cams ability to play in slow motion. Now you can view your 622GW footage in Super Slow Motion at 1080p and 120fps. This feature is ideal to help identify what happens in an incident and capture details such as number plates, vital for proving fault.
This camera just became your new best friend on a road trip!
Nextbase offers 4K video quality, emergency service notifications, and a technology called what3words, which shares your precise coordinates with anyone you choose.
The camera also enables the use of Amazon Alexa, which gives you voice control to make calls, check the weather, get directions, or anything else you need while keeping your hands on the steering wheel.
The 622GW is compatible with your smartphone and will work synchronously with other Nextbase cameras, meaning you can have a front and rear-facing camera.
2. Garmin Dash Cams
- Pocket-sized dash camera goes virtually unnoticed on your windshield; automatically records and saves video of incidents with GPS location, date and time
- Wide 140-degree lens records 1440p HD video with Garmin Clarity HDR optics for crisp detail day and night
- Voice control (only available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Swedish) lets you use spoken commands to save video, start/stop audio recording, take still pictures and more
- Saved videos automatically upload via Wi-Fi connection to the secure online Vault to view and share later
- The Parking Guard feature monitors activity around your parked vehicle and alerts if an incident is detected (requires Wi-Fi connection; access via the Garmin Drive app on your compatible smartphone)
- Access the camera remotely for Live View monitoring (requires constant power and an active Wi-Fi connection; access via the Garmin Drive app on your compatible smartphone) when you’re away from your parked car
- Driver alerts such as forward collision, lane departure and speed camera warnings, help encourage safer driving and increase situational awareness (Certain conditions may impair the warning function; Red light and speed camera warnings are not available in all regions)
- Get more awareness around your vehicle using the Garmin Drive app on your compatible smartphone to view video from up to 4 Garmin dash cams (sold separately)
- Durable design withstands harsh vehicle environments, including direct sunlight and hot interior temperatures
- Notice: Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit use of this device. It is your responsibility to know and comply with applicable laws and rights to privacy in jurisdictions where you plan to use this device.
Garmin is a long-trusted name in the video camera industry.
Their dash cams have proven themselves worthy of your purchase.
The Garmin Dash Cam 57 is their latest product to keep drivers happy.
An array of features such as GPS incident detecting, voice control, and automatic recording make this an easy choice.
The device also features Vault Storage, which automatically saves each video clip it captures for 24 hours.
3. Nexar Pro
- 【Smart Phone Required】All Nexar dash cams require a smartphone connection. Our dash cams are compatible with iPhones 7 and above, as well as most Android models. To make sure your device is compatible, please see the full list in the FAQ section below. Please also note that Nexar does not operate in tandem with Apple CarPlay.
- 【The Best Dash Cam for Professional Drivers】Nexar Pro provides the ultimate protection by recording both the road and the cabin of a car. The road view camera records crisp 135° wide video in 1080p Full HD quality. The interior camera records sharp HD footage and includes 10 infra-red light bulbs that provide superb night vision. The system is equipped with advanced G-force sensors and comes with memory options from 32gb to 256gb, providing up to 24 hours of loop recording.
- 【Smart Detection and Free Cloud Backup】The camera detects critical situations on the road (like collisions or sudden brakes) and saves them as short clips on the Nexar app. These clips are also automatically backed up to your free and unlimited Nexar cloud account.
- 【Parking Mode for 24/7 Protection】Nexar senses even the slightest impact and starts recording immediately, even when your car is parked. Get notified and watch recorded parking incidents as soon as your phone is nearby and connected to the dash cam.
- 【Instant Evidence Straight to Your Phone】The Nexar Pro dashboard camera seamlessly streams live footage to your phone every time you drive, so video evidence is always just a tap away if you need it. The Nexar app works in the background, so you can use other apps (like navigation) while driving. To avoid battery drain, consider plugging in your phone while driving.
- 【One Tap Insurance Report】At the tap of a button, Nexar can create detailed post-collision reports that save you time, money, and unnecessary stress when dealing with insurance claims. Nexar’s report summarizes key information from the crash, including video footage, driving speed, G-force impact, and location.
Nexar Pro is the camera aimed at drivers who dedicate hours of their day to being on the road.
The Nexar Pro GPS Dash Cam system features an internal memory, which holds extra hours of loop recording.
Nexar’s camera is the first on this list to include a dual-camera system, one for the road and one for your vehicle interior.
It also notifies loved ones if your camera detected an accident involving your vehicle (along with the video footage).
You can also use their app to submit a video to insurance claims.
This feature keeps you protected from any potential insurance fraud.
In our opinion, this is the best dash cam on this list!
(Upgraded cameras from Nexar offer live streaming of your driving if that’s a feature you seek!)
How To Use Your GoPro as a Dash Cam
You’ll need to start by applying a suction cup GoPro mount to your windshield or your dashboard.
Once the camera mount is securely in place, attach your GoPro camera.
Play around with placement, as you’ll want to maximize what your camera will see when the vehicle is in motion.
Be sure your GoPro is connected to power while you drive.
You can skip this as the camera does have a few hours of battery life.
However, this will optimize the camera’s ability to capture everything you experience while behind the wheel.
If your camera has trouble staying in place during the drive, wait until pulled over to adjust the mount or the camera.
If problems persist, you may need a more secure camera mount for your camera.
In short, the need for a reliable dash cam is evident.
Drivers need to be able to protect themselves in every way possible.
If GoPro is your method of choice, we support you in your endeavors!
However, we strongly recommend the Nexar Pro as this seems to be the most straightforward and reliable camera on the market today.
If driving with confidence is crucial to you, getting a dependable dash cam is a great place to start!