Semi Truck Dash Cam: How They Keep You and Your Cargo Safe
Dashboard cameras (also known as dash cams) are perhaps more important to truckers, or companies that own trucks, than to the ordinary car owner. Why? Because truckers usually spend a lot more time on the road than the ordinary motorist.
As you may expect, the more time you spend on the road the higher the risk of accidents and incidents. Such events can easily lead to a lawsuit, vehicular damage or worse injury to the vehicle’s driver and occupants.
That is precisely why semi truck dash cams offer peace of mind to truck owners and fleet managers. These small on-board cameras can capture practically anything and everything that you may need to prove your (or the driver’s) innocence or to show that the other party is at fault.
Why You Need One
The footage can be used by legal authorities as well as insurance companies to either absolve you from guilt or compensate you accordingly. If you are the truck owner or fleet manager you may need a dash cam with such features as GPS tracker to keep track of the vehicle’s movements.
But dash cams for truckers are not all work and no play. These gadgets are known to capture some very interesting stuff on the road, and from a higher angle than when they are in a car. Whether it’s the newest model of a luxury car brand, funny motorists, a police chase or any video that the online community can easily make to go viral, you can trust the dash cam to record it.
Plus you can use it to document your trips for your family and friends. The videos and photos will most certainly comfort them when you’re on the road for days, weeks, or even months on end.
Choosing the Best Dash Cam for Truckers
In short, there are endless reasons to install a dash cam in your truck. But with so many brands and models in the market, how do you ensure that the one you choose is the best possible?
Well, your ideal dash cam for a truck should have a combination of most of these features:
- Auto-record: this will save you the trouble of having to start the dash cam every time you embark on a journey.
- High-quality footage: the videos should be clear enough so that you won’t have to argue with authorities or insurers over the series of events.
- Mountable: a typical dash cam for a truck should have long enough cables that can run all the way to the cigarette lighter.
- Affordable: do not break the bank in an attempt to install a dash cam in your truck. There are some great models that come with an affordable price tag.
- GPS: it will indicate such things as your location, speed and route at any given point in time.
- Extras: they may be luxury features but things like parking monitor, motion sensor and Wi-Fi can prove very important when you least expect.
Now, with that in mind, which dash cams are best suited for trucks?
Our top picks
#1: Garmin Dash Cam 35
Garmin makes some of the best dash cams, and the Dash Cam 35 is undoubtedly one of the most impressive. An easy-to-mount gadget, this camera attaches to your truck’s windshield sturdily.
It records videos in 1080P or 720P, you can choose the resolution you want in the settings. At 1080P, the dash cam’s footage is super clear in all lighting conditions, including at night. You might not be able to get the same quality of night footage at 720P.
Whichever setting you select, you will be able to view real time or playback footage on the dash cam’s 3-inch LCD screen thanks to Garmin’s Dash Cam Player.
Additionally, the camera automatically saves footage as a single loop on a microSD card. With its built-in G-sensor, it is able to sense impacts/collisions and automatically lock related videos and images so that you don’t lose them. Speaking of images, it features a snapshot function for taking still images. You can use it to capture close-up photos of accidents and/or the resultant damage.
Another handy feature for any driver is truck gps with dash cam module. It logs the vehicle’s location, speed and direction at any given date and time. This may prove essential when you’re required to prove when and where events occurred.
A standout feature of the Garmin Dash Cam 35 is its driver awareness alerts. The dash cam provides warnings for red lights, speed cameras and potential forward collisions. The warnings not only increase your own safety but also ensure that your driving is safe for other motorists.
Summary of Features
- Excellent video quality of 1080 or 720P
- Wide field of view of 170 degrees
- Comes with a free 16GB memory card
- Driver awareness warnings
- G-sensor for incident detection
- Crystal clear 3-inch LCD display
- Compact and discreet size. Measures 1.6 x 3.7 x 1.9 inches and weighs 4 ounces
Overall, the Garmin Dash Cam 35 is a solid camera that fits on any truck. It comes with very long cables that can run from the windshield all the way to the cigarette lighter. It’s easy to install too.
#2: WheelWitness HD PRO Dash Cam
Designed specifically for 12V vehicles and trucks, the WheelWitness HD PRO Dash Cam features the latest technology in dash cam manufacture. The unit comes with 3 mounts; one suction cup and two sticky mounts. You can install them in multiple trucks (or one truck and two cars) and switch the camera to whichever vehicle you are using at any particular time.
Once installed, the WheelWitness HD PRO will start recording automatically immediately you start the truck. It is designed to swivel and stay in place. That makes it easy to direct the lens to any direction you wish. The unit has a long power cable that reaches the cigarette lighter without any trouble.
This dash cam records footage in super HD quality of 2306 x 1296P. You can change the quality to 2560 x 1080P in the dash cam’s settings. The latter resolution is ideal when you want to be economical with storage space.
See everything on the road
Another impressive feature of the dash cam is its wide angle of view. It covers a field of view of 170 degrees. From the high point of the truck, there’s really nothing that this dash cam wont’ record; whether its road signs, cross traffic, or license plates.
The WheelWitness HD PRO records night footage that is almost as clear as daytime footage. That’s all thanks to the wide dynamic range (WDR) technology used. It compensates bright and dark spots by balancing exposure.
Regardless of the time of day, you can view all the action in real-time or playback on the dash cam’s 3-inch LCD screen. It’s also where you get to view and change the camera’s settings and menu options.
Other features that you’ll find useful include the G-sensor, GPS and motion detector. The latter senses all kinds of motion when the vehicle is parked and also when you’re driving (although it’s recommended to switch it off while you’re driving). It then triggers the camera to record the events happening.
The GPS logs the location and speed of the truck at any given time. On its part, the G-sensor automatically detects accidents and impacts and then saves and locks all the related footage.
Summary of Features
- Uses continuous loop recording
- Plug-and-play and automatic recording
- High video quality of up to 1296P (super HD)
- WDR technology for night video recording
- Compact size. Measures 3.9 x 1.2 x 1.9 inches
- GPS enabled
- Comes with free 16GB microSD cars
In summary, the WheelWitness HD PRO is without a doubt one of the best dash cam for truckers. You won’t just love it for its high-quality footage but also for its sleek, small, discreet design.
#3: KdLinks X1 Dash Cam
A slim and sleek dashboard camera, the KdLinks X1 comes ready to use right out of the box. It’s a plug and play device, so once mounted it will start recording automatically as soon as you start the truck.
Speaking of mounting, the X1 package includes a suction cup with a built-in GPS module. It attaches easily and firmly to pretty much any truck’s (and vehicle’s) windshield. You can swivel it through 360 degrees and point the lens to whichever direction you wish. The power cable is well over 12 feet long and will reach the truck’s cigarette port comfortably.
Crystal Clear Footage
This dash cam records 1920 x 1080P videos at 30 fps. The resolution is quite impressive; more than sufficient to read license plates from 65 feet away. Contrary to most other dash cams that only record clear footage on a clear day, the X1 does that consistently in all lighting conditions.
It delivers clear images always, whether you’re driving in rainy weather, towards the sun or at night. The reason is because KdLinks used a combination of a 6-glass lens and wide dynamic range (WDR) to make the dash cam. It automatically balances exposure depending on the prevailing lighting conditions.
The lens covers a massive 165-degree field of view. You can watch everything within that frame on the crisp clear 2.7-inch screen.
To make the dash cam more ideal for truckers, KdLinks added an exclusive GPS module that is made in Japan. It records a vehicle’s precise location, route and speed at any given time. The data is stamped on the dash cam’s videos but you can also view it on Google Maps using KdLinks’ Dashcam Player Software.
The GPS functions is critical to fleet management or generally keeping track of your truck’s movements. But it’s not the only important feature of the X1. There’s also the G-sensor which detects impacts/collisions and automatically locks all related footage. You can also do that manually using the emergency lock button on the dash cam.
Summary of Features
- Full HD videos of 1920 x 1080P
- Built-in GPS module
- Automatic G-sensor and manual emergency lock button
- 165-degree viewing angle
- Compact size of 3.3 x 1.7 x 0.5 inches
- Superior night vision
- 1-year warranty
- Free 8GB micro SD card
Needless to say, the KdLinks X1 makes a great companion on any journey. It doesn’t just impress in the quality of footage, but in design and construction as well.
#4: OldShark DashCam 505
OldShark is a professional dash cam manufacturer that makes all kinds of dash cams. The DashCam 505, for example, is designed for use in trucks as well as cars. Built with a high-grade zinc alloy shell, the camera is almost completely weatherproof. It also has an anti-collision feature and is designed to not explode in the event of an accident.
Mounting the DashCam 505 on a truck is quite simple. It attaches to the windshield. Once you run the power cable the unit will be good to go. It will start recording automatically as soon as you start the vehicle’s ignition. You can view live footage or playback recorded clips on the 3-inch LCD screen.
So how’s the quality of the footage? Very impressive actually. The camera captures highly-detailed images both during the day and at night. It’s built with a 6-layer lens that not only covers a 170-degree field of view but also records 1080P videos. It uses wide dynamic range (WDR) technology to capture clear images during the night and in low lighting conditions.
You can lower the resolution to 720P in case you want to get more recording time on the memory card. In that case a 32GB card will record for up to 400 minutes continuously. The same card can take about 280 minutes in 1080P. The package doesn’t include a memory card so you’ll need to budget for it separately.
Like any other reliable dash cam, the OldShark DashCam 505 uses a G-sensor to detect accidents and automatically lock related footage. Despite using loop recording, such critical footage will not be overwritten.
Summary of Features
- High quality videos of 1080P
- G-sensor locks accident-related footage
- 170-degree viewing angle
- Measures 3.4 x 1.2 x 2.0 inches and weighs 4.3 ounces
- Superior night vision
- Comes complete with mounting gear and cables (no memory card)
You may have noticed that the DashCam 505 is not one of those highly complicated units that might end up making your driving harder than it should. It offers the basic functions – high-quality recording, wide field of view, solid construction, and easy mounting. That simplicity makes it one of the most affordable dash cams and best value for money out there today.