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GoPro As Dash Cam: Can You Use One? Yes, Here’s How

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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.

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 f 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?

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.

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.

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.

Storage

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.

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.

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.

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.

Best Dash Cams

We’ve researched for you! Here are three of the best choices you can make while shopping for a dash cam.

vector graphic showing an illustration of dash cams with cloud storage

1. Nextbase 622GW

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

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

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.

Wrapping Up

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!

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