Thursday, July 18, 2013

I've thought about a vehicle-mounted camera...

...and I'd do it in a minute if I lived in one of the big traffic hells like DC, ATL, L.A., or DFW. Besides, without a camera on board, how will you get lucky video of a meteor exploding overhead?

Having had someone try to by-god kill me while I was just riding along and minding my own business before, I can see the value in a dash cam. Check out the footage Rational Gun got within two weeks of installing one; if he'd actually hit that dude, the camera would have paid for itself many times over in an instant.

(Fortunately, in my case, the dude was a mensch and pleaded guilty in court. Things could have dragged out longer than they did if he hadn't owned up to his screwup. That's not the kind of thing you can count on, sadly.)

32 comments:

Paul said...

No one ever admits to stupidity. Sad but true.

Robert said...

Good video. He needs to stay out of the left lane when not passing other cars though.

y0te said...

I'm currently working on a lower cost automated upload in-car camera and audio system. Since you are interested, I'll remember to post you the link when I finish the design.

Gwen said...

I would get a Looxcie camera (www.looxcie.com), since it can be either worn on the ear as a Bluetooth phone headset, or mounted in the car on a visor or suction-cup holder. A Looxcie has a sizeable internal buffer, a continuous-loop storage system that stores video and automatically records over the oldest items in the buffer when it runs out of space. You control it from buttons on the headset, or from a smartphone app that acts as a viewfinder and clip editor.

You can tap a button on the camera that will automatically send the last 30-second clip directly to Youtube or other social media, through your smartphone. Or you can select a section of the buffer and manually upload it, using the app to select the boundaries of the section you want to send. You charge it via USB, which also lets you upload the buffer or any clips you have defined to your computer.

They have two models, a discreet one that just looks like a phone earpiece at casual glance (it takes significant scrutiny to notice the lens at the end)or an HD model that's more like a GoPro, and is far more obvious.

I have one of the first-generation Looxcies. It's a nifty little gadget, and works well, but the first gen were more limited in memory and the battery life stank on ice. The new ones are much better.

People probably won't notice the earpiece mode -- who looks closely at someone's phone earpiece? -- and with the other mounting options, there's a strong case for using it for your own security.

Walter Zoomie said...

Besides the left lane thing, it appears to me that the dude is speeding as well. The guy who cut in front of him isn't the only asshole in this video.

He might consider driving more defensively.

I'm thinking there's a good chance the video shooter is a cop.

pdb said...

OMFG. Somebody in a Caddy zooms across 2 lanes of traffic without even looking, and y'all are pissing on his cruising speed and lane preference (on an uncontrolled access road with tons of left and right exits)? Did you see anyone trying to pass him on the right?

This is why we can't have nice things.

Tam said...

"I'm thinking there's a good chance the video shooter is a cop."

Of course you are.

Wrong. :)

Walter Zoomie said...

"Keep right except to pass."

A basic rule of the road.

Damned inconvenient, I know, especially when one is so self-absorbed and discourteous, but you'd be surprised how things smooth out when it is followed.

Go back to driver's ed.

Anonymous said...

The caddy executed a perfect Jersey yield.

+1 on the left lane comments.

Gerry

Tam said...

Gerry,

The left lane comments would be pertinent on a controlled access road.

Having been cleaned off my bike and nearly ****ing killed in the right lane by someone pulling out of a driveway, you can have the right lane all to yourself on an uncontrolled-access road.

Don't worry, if you are overtaking me, I'll yield the lane 'til you pass.

Tim Honl said...

If you already have an Android phone, all you need is an Exogear Exomount and the free DailyRoads Voyager app. I'm sure there are i-Equivalents if you lean Apple.

Tam said...

Won't that mess up the video the NSA's getting from my phone? :D

Mark Alger said...

I'm sorry. No, you do NOT have a constitutional right to go faster than everybody else. And passing somebody on the right -- proper or not by the rules of the road, passenger-side mirrors or not -- is just plain stupid.

M

Anonymous said...

Tam,

I confused. Wasn't that a limited access highway? Keep right unless your over taking and such.

I sure understand your point about folks not using mirrors and turn signals around motorbikes. Being in the left lane would not have help with the driver of that Caddy.

I'll pass on the right if folks clog up the left lane. Not terribly bright I know but better than waiting in a conga line at 75 MPH.

Gerry

Mike in KY said...

Just because someone is approaching in the left lane doesn't mean it's okay to pull out of a driveway (or any other place) into the other lane. I see that all the time and it's aggravating as hell. If someone is in the process of changing lanes then you just pulled out in front of them.

Another thing that makes me cringe is people who think it's okay to make a left turn at a green light when the oncoming vehicle is making a right turn and just assume that the guy making the right turn is going to stay in that right lane while you slide in beside him in the left lane.

Buzz said...

Oh boy, a thread devolving into driving critique!
Next up, a video of someone shooting a handgun....

(I do agree with the comments on "Illinois-style" camping in the left lane and the obvious disregard for speed limits, but not the point of Tam's post. The video could also be used against the driver, since it's not difficult to calculate speed by the frequency of the white dashes zooming by...)

Tam said...

I'm having a hard time getting worked up over five over. (Well, I would if he didn't notice me closing on him in the rear-view and move right. ;) )

Rational Gun said...

Buzz, I look forward to you calculating the speed since apparently your eagle eyes can sense speeding in Youtube videos.

rickn8or said...

"Keep to the right except when passing."

I do that. I also pass other cars. A lot. So yeah, a lot of people think I camp out in the left lane. Maybe so, but I also keep an eye on the mirrors for a Tam approaching from the rear.

I reserve my ire for those that insist the left lane is the "Ten mph under the speed limit Cell phone/texting lane."

And I like the idea of dual cameras; on on the road, one pointed at the driver's area. You know, in case you're having a roadside conference with the constabulary and they decide to go all unprofessional on you.

Now if there's some way to make these cameras hard to spot...

Matt G said...

Vehicle-mounted cameras have saved my bacon over the years. Most recently, the images caught on three of them made a frivolous federal lawsuit (with serious charges made) go away.

Buzz said...

RG, had that situation ended up badly and your video as evidence, the Caddy's lawyer would only need to know the distance between dashes on that stretch of road. The conclusion of speeding, without knowing said distance, was based upon the number of vehicles passed versus passed by. The "typical" driver is five over; someone passing nearly all others would be ten or more. Interestingly enough, your video has now been chopped to only 7 seconds of Caddy encounter...

Tam, the autobahn is a beautiful place to see respect for "GTFO!" You must watch your mirror at all times, not even attempting a pass unless there's absolutely nothing hauling ass waaaayyyy back there. Every pass is to be accomplished quickly and an immediate return to the right lane, regardless, since there's likely going to be "somebody faster than you" coming soon.

Robert said...

The Caddy's lawyer would not have a leg to stand on, as the Caddy driver is violating several laws in his performance of an illegal U-turn using a crossover marked "For authorized vehicles only".

Buzz said...

The Caddy would have been in the wrong for causing the accident, but civil cases hinge on percentages of fault.
A slimy lawyer and inept judge could show "reckless behavior" by RG contributed to T-boning the Caddy, had an incident occurred and the Caddy driver been the one to sue.
(Damn it, I've been sucked into the driving critique when my first comment was how this had devolved into such.)

Rational Gun said...

Yup it's a big conspiracy, Buzz. I was speeding and am desperately trying to hide it......

Sometimes I hate the internet.

Anonymous said...

"G-shock sensor that automatically saves the recording in case of an accident."

I kinda wish that the unburned vehichle in our double fatality head-on on Sunday AM had such a thing ..... might help with the whole "why" of the deal ..... if it had survived the crash- not much else did .......

-Drive safely, please,

jimbob86

Anonymous said...

Tam:

Check out the Go-Pro series of cameras - designed for vehicle use.

BSR

benEzra said...

@Mark Alger,
"I'm sorry. No, you do NOT have a constitutional right to go faster than everybody else."

You do, in most states, have the right of way if someone in the passing lane is going slower than you. Driving the speed limit in most states is *not* a defense to failure to yield the passing lane to faster traffic. It's the law. The left lane is not the VIP lane, or the SUV/minivan lane, or the cell phone lane, or the Self Appointed Enforcer Of The Speed Limit According To My Speedometer lane; it is the *passing* lane.

FWIW, I'm in the market for an in-car camera as a defense against exaggerated speed claims by the various revenue enhancement bureaus. It seems to me that a camera with sufficient resolution and FOV to show your speedometer + surroundings would be very handy in cases where official Excess of Zeal leads to number-padding.

Alien said...

@benEzra - Point the camera so the GPS is in frame. That provides all the vector info you'll need - direction, route number, velocity, time to destination. With speedometers the calibration and accuracy question always comes up.

Now, a GPS with an internal camera AND enough memory to loop record the last 10 minutes of video and vector data would be neat. Double edged sword, though.

mikee said...

So when do the dashcam videos from the US begin to rival those from the Russians, who daily record and post to YouTube as insurance scammers leap onto their hoods, bears attack their Volvos, and other cars vector into roadside moats, barricades or innocent pedestrians?

We must close the dashcam gap!

TS: 73 Nandcas, as in: Had dashcams been around when I was driving my '73 Nandcas in the Himalayas, everyone would believe in Yetis now!

Will said...

@benEzra:

What typically happens is the officer's radar locks on a vehicle going the other direction. They have no understanding how radar guns work. They think it locks on the vehicle they point it at. Wrong. It goes for the strongest return (reflected) signal. Which is the back end of most cars/trucks. Pointy front, blunt back. Isn't necessarily the fastest moving thing, either.

wv: ctrees. Why, yes, radar can lock on wind blown trees.

Tam said...

Will,

I remember reading a (C/D?) test on radar guns that showed some interesting results.

Incidentally, a composite-bodied, shovel-nosed Fiero GT is very stealthy. Hidden headlights, recessed parking lights on the front, and behind the plastic nose cone the metal radiator is angled downwards at almost 45 degrees and reflects radar back into the asphalt.

In a matte color, you'd need to be practically on top of the gun to return a reading on either radar or laser.

Will said...

Tam,
Might have been one of the bike mags. Range of lock-on was way different for bikes, cars, and big-rigs. Radar would ignore bikes and cars to lock on a big rig at half the speed and 2-4x the distance.
Can't remember the numbers, now.

Wearing a helmet was stealthier than a bare head.

Spent an afternoon talking with a military radar designer, after parking our bikes, long time ago. His view of police radar claims was that they were full of it. Near total rubbish. Multi-million dollar systems couldn't do what they claimed for their sub $10k guns. His main point was that you could never know what it had locked on, under any practical circumstances. I'm sure they have improved over the following years, but his main point was the system could not be DESIGNED to give you this info.

He did claim to beat any radar tickets, and said they stopped writing him up when they discovered they couldn't make them stick in court.


wv: HomeBro. A proper homie?