Keep your eyes on the road

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - NEWS - PETER BARN­WELL peter.barn­well@news.com.au

IT’S a jun­gle out on there on the road. There are wild an­i­mals be­hind the wheel us­ing their cars as weapons and count­less dills driv­ing around who wouldn’t know what day it is.

Cue road rage, in­sur­ance claims and dig­i­tal-age back­side-cov­er­ing, the lat­ter aided by ad­vanced vis­ual tech­nol­ogy.

Now that the av­er­age per­son can cap­ture al­most lim­it­less im­ages daily on their phone, it’s no sur­prise that cam­eras can record your ev­ery mo­ment be­hind the wheel as well as the an­tics of other driv­ers.

Smart­phone cam­era minia­tur­i­sa­tion is bring­ing down the cost of so-called “crash-cams’’. Th­ese in-car devices are gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, par­tic­u­larly in Bri­tain and Europe among “pro­fes­sional’’ driv­ers or com­pa­nies with car fleets.

The de­vice mounted in the cabin con­tin­u­ally records as you drive, catch­ing mi­nor fender ben­ders and full-blown wrecks. Af­ter a crash or other in­ci­dent, the footage can be foren­sic ev­i­dence.

For a sim­i­lar rea­son, po­lice are now wear­ing video cam­eras at­tached to their cloth­ing.

You can’t ar­gue with the video — no porkies, no de­nials, no bull — and the file can eas­ily be trans­ferred to a PC for view­ing and stor­ing. There is no short­age of such vi­sion on so­cial me­dia.

It pays to be care­ful when buy­ing a crash cam be­cause “knock-offs’’ of low price and un­cer­tain ori­gin can prom­ise a lot and not de­liver.

That un­beat­able deal on the web might not be the best way to go. The more as­tute would go through a rep­utable re­tailer sell­ing a known brands.

The best crash cams pro­duce high-qual­ity vi­sion, with set-and-for­get in­stal­la­tion.

Carsguide tested Street Guardian’s flag­ship model, the SGZC12SG V2 — an item so jam packed with fea­tures that we hardly scratched the sur­face of its ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

It has a 2.7-inch view­ing screen, full HD res­o­lu­tion, wide an­gle lens and an ad­vanced low light/night mode.

The im­age qual­ity is among the best we’ve seen from a dash cam­era, dis­cern­ing num­ber­plates at a dis­tance and sharp enough to be framed.

Other handy fea­tures in­clude a built-in GPS sen­sor for speed and po­si­tion­ing in­for­ma­tion. Its G-force sen­sor saves footage when it de­tects sud­den move­ment of the ve­hi­cle, such as heavy brak­ing.

The driver also can ac­ti­vate this func­tion, the footage be­ing stored in the in­ter­nal 64GB mi­cro SD mem­ory card. The sup­plied power kit (12V and 24V) has a gen­er­ous amount of ca­ble that can be hid­den out of the driver’s view.

A nifty bonus fea­ture is the rear-fac­ing lens — the $429 V2 works as a re­vers­ing cam­era too.

Ready to roll: Street Guardian crash cam

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