February 18, 2020

The eye on the dash

ProofCam’s RAC 03 Super HD rear view mirror dash cam assessed by Dan Gilkes.

Dash cams that record the view out of a vehicle’s front windscreen in the event of an incident, are becoming an increasingly popular option. This is partly in response to the ‘crash for cash’ con artists, who assume that a company will automatically pay up if they cause a van to run into the back of their vehicle.

However dash cams can offer more than just a recording of accidents. ProofCam’s RAC 03 Super HD rear view mirror dash cam also provides speed camera alerts, GPS location recording and lane diversion warnings, among a host of other features.

Unlike the majority of stand-alone cameras, the RAC 03 is built into a rather over-sized mirror, that is positioned over the vehicle’s own rear view mirror and held in place with rubber straps. This in part disguises its presence from the outside.

That’s all well and good if the vehicle actually has a rear view mirror of course. The first van that I tried to use the device in was a Transit Connect that, due to the fact that it has a standard full bulkhead, came without a rear view mirror, so there was nothing to attach it to.

Having found a vehicle with the requisite rear view mirror, it was easy to install the RAC 03, the two rubber bands providing secure fixing. However unless you have the device professionally wired in, you will have to put up with an electrical charging wire swaying about in front of you on its way to the 12V power plug. This also means that you can’t charge phones and other devices if you only have the one 12V outlet.

The dash cam automatically switches on with the ignition, briefly showing the forward camera image over the mirror view to the rear of the vehicle. A red light shows that the device is charging, with a blue light indicating ongoing recording. If you turn the RAC 03 on without it being plugged in, the device will turn on, but won’t start recording automatically.

The dash cam saves data in 1, 3 or 5-minute segments, but will automatically overwrite once the MicroSD card is full. The card can be removed for transfer to a computer, or the dash cam itself can be connected to a PC for download.

As well as speed warnings, the RAC 03 will provide driving time warnings, forward detection warnings, low light warnings and both forward collision warning and lane departure warnings. However for the latter two systems to operate, you must set the correct road conditions, ie motorway, rural or urban.

The RAC03 lists at £159.99, which seems reasonable for the amount of technology on offer. However, with an increasing number of vans offering lane departure warning, automatic lights and wipers, it might be easier to recommend one of the company’s less expensive, dash cam-only devices.