The Russian dash cam is something which YouTube viewers will probably be familiar with. As highlighted by February’s meteor, the number of dash cams in Russia appears to be higher than in any other country in the world. People from every corner of the globe were able to witness the natural phenomenon thanks to camera-armed Russian motorists whose videos soon went viral.
Here we take a look at why dash cams have become a necessity in Russia, and at whether or not we should be using them in the UK.
In such a vast country, motorists often feel the need to cover themselves for insurance purposes. Should they be involved in a collision, Russian drivers can find themselves struggling to prove their innocence or the other party’s accountability. The only way to solve this is hard evidence, hence the rise of the Russian dash cam.
Many have spoken of the corrupt Russian traffic police, and how criminal gangs are staging accidents in order to force innocent motorists into paying a settlement.
In fact, dash cams have become so vital for Russian motorists that, as some have claimed, video evidence is now expected in court. So, although their footage provides us with some amazing YouTube clips, there is a very serious reason behind their use.
Captured on camera
It’s not just natural phenomenons like the meteor which have made Russian dash cams an internet sensation. Incredible near misses, acts of road rage and even airplane crashes have been captured from the dashboard by unassuming drivers.
Back in December, a motorist caught footage of the spectacular crash-landing of a Tupolev TU-204 aircraft on a Russian highway; something which – in most other countries – would not have been captured from so close.
Russian dash cam video: Plane crash
In January, another video emerged of a car crash involving a 4×4 and a lorry on an icy Russian road. As the 4×4 span out of control whilst trying to overtake, the back end of the car hit oncoming traffic and – to viewers’ horror – a baby can be seen flying from the car and into the carriageway, as two lorries approach. Thankfully, the first lorry driver spots the baby, swerving out of the way with little more than a foot to spare.
Russian dash cam video: A very near miss
The miraculous near miss, captured from the dash cam of the car which was being overtaken, is something which most people would only expect to see on the big screen, not on real-life footage on the internet.
Should we be using them in the UK?
Dash cams are now being used by some companies in the UK, in order to keep their drivers safe and protected against legal claims. There are also a number of police cars with dash cams installed, capturing high speed chases and criminal activity. There aren’t, however, many privately owned vehicles with dash cams installed. Unlike in Russia, insurance claims are generally settled amicably and fairly, so there’s no need for hard, video evidence.
Although this means we’re not going to top the Russian dash cam videos any time soon, we can think ourselves lucky that most of us don’t require video evidence when it comes to insurance claims and car accidents.
They are, however, available to buy in the UK. They have, for example, become increasingly popular with instructors who can also use them as a learning tool during their lessons. You should check the rules and regulations regarding dash cams before buying one for your own car.
Image via Sergey Solom.