According to a study conducted by the experts at the Association for Safe International Road Travel, over 37,000 people die in crashes on roads across the United States every year. Of those that survive, an additional 2.35 million are either seriously injured or permanently disabled. Roughly 1,600 kids under the age of 15 die in those crashes, and the total accumulated cost of such events comes to roughly $230.6 billion, or about $820 per person.

With statistics like these in play, it’s no wonder that people around the country are becoming more safety-conscious by the day. Rather than simply stopping at practicing safe driving habits, more and more people are turning to modern technology to help protect themselves on the open roads. According to USA Today, both the searches and sales of dashboard cameras have risen spectacularly over the last few years alone, for a range of different reasons that are definitely worth exploring.

Dashboard Camera

The Unending Popularity of Dash Cams

According to USA Today and based on data obtained from Google, people are now searching for terms like “dash cam” or “dashboard camera” as much as three times more than they’re searching for other auto-related terms like “autonomous driving.” Yes, everyone is enamored with the idea that their car may one day drive itself, but at the same time they’re also very focused on protecting the cars that they already own until we get there.

To take that one step further, it’s already expected that dash cam shipments will hit 285,000 across the country by the end of the year — a massive 20 percent increase from the same period of time just one year ago in 2017. Both of these statistics point to a trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

A large part of this has to do with the fact that people feel better protected in the car if they’ve got an “extra set of eyes” to look out for them, but it also goes a bit deeper than that, too. If you’re ever in an accident that eventually goes to trial, that dash cam footage can be admitted as evidence, which can help prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that you didn’t actually do anything wrong. Because dash cams have already been proven to help reduce fraudulent insurance claims, many providers are also offering steep discounts to their customers simply for having a dash cam installed. This can make the initial few hundred dollar purchase price of the camera much more attractive in the short term.

When purchasing a dash cam, it’s always important to focus on a few core qualities. For the best results, buy a unit that shoots video in at least 1080p high definition resolution and that also includes low-light capabilities. Think about how often you drive in the dark: You want your dash cam to protect you at ALL times, not just when the sun is out. Consumer Reports also recommends that any dash cam you buy have at least 32 gigabytes of onboard storage, and the unit should also record in five minute chunks to give you time to save any footage that you need before it’s automatically recorded over.

In the end, it’s very easy to see why dash cams have become so popular with so many. On the one hand, you’ve got an average cost of over $800 that you can expect to pay if you’re in an accident — along with the risk of becoming seriously injured, disabled or even killed. That takes the form of car repair bills, increased insurance payments, potential settlements and much more. On the other hand, you’ve got a dash cam — something that you can pay and install for just a few hundred dollars. When you put it like that, the choice between buying a dash cam and simply trusting that everything is going to be okay really isn’t much of a choice at all.