Those in the driving instructor industry know that new drivers can do the most irrational things on the road. And while that comes with the job, you want to protect yourself and your business from any allegations of misconduct. Whether you are a driving instructor yourself, or own the business, you can see how a dash cam can be beneficial for both you and the student drivers.
- Front, Rear and Cabin Cameras filming at 1440P+1080P+1080P
- Cabin Camera has Infrared Lights to illuminate footage in low light conditions
- Accepts SD cards up to 256GB to allow for multiple days of footage to saved
- Can be hidden behind the rear view mirror for discreteness
Dealing with students means you have to interact with their parents as well. Anyone in the industry understands that sometimes parents can be overbearing and over-protecting, which is understandable because their kid is learning how to operate this 2,000+ pound vehicle. Any incident, minor or major, is scrutinized most by those who weren’t at the scene.
A dash cam can be the source of truth, the evidence, when it comes to resolving disputes. The fact is, that the student is the one driving and make most of the decisions. There are times where the instructor has to step in and that’s why having cabin footage is vital to a successful company. A small investment into safety can pay great dividends in the long term success of a business.
Driving Instructor Dash Cams Must-Have
Large Storage Capacity
Driving instructor companies have several ways they run their business. The student driver could be practicing driving with their instructor by driving to the next student’s house. Or the student driver can be dropping themselves back at the driving school’s office. Either way, the driving instructor spends an inordinate amount of time in the vehicle.
Spending several hours a day in the car, with multiple passengers, you’ll want a dash cam that can hold a large amount of footage. Loop recording is a feature that exists on all dash cams which deletes old footage in favor for new footage. So if your SD card runs out of space half way through the day, the card will start deleting the oldest footage to make room for the newest.
This poses a big issue if your card can only hold, let’s say, 6 hours of footage and you are in the car continuously for 8 hours. With a dash cam constantly recording, those first two hours will be erased. If there is any accusation of misconduct or a dispute with your first student drivers, there’s no way the dash cam can retrieve the footage.
You need to be looking for a dash cam that can handle a large capacity SD card, at least 128 GB.
Every dash cam is different in how they store footage. With the differing resolutions, and varying camera angles, a certain capacity may or may not work for you. The dash cam should tell you how much time it expects to record with a certain SD card. Ensure that it meets your minimum requirements and proceed further.
Interior View of Vehicle
We think having an inwards facing camera, or a cabin camera, is integral to protecting your instructors, teachers and your driving school. Much like ride share drivers, except in reverse, your instructor will come across many student drivers throughout the day.
While 99% of all interactions are civil and cordial, that 1% can create massive headaches for yourself. There can be disputes on bad instructions, improper teaching philosophy, or too much teacher intervention. Worse yet, there’s potential that parents may feel uneasy about their underage teenager in a car with a stranger. Being able to have a cabin dash camera is important for both parties as video and audio can be used as evidence.
Most of the driving will take place in the day, but there may be cases where instructors might have to work early in the morning or late in the evening. In these cases, you’ll want to have a cabin camera that has infrared LED lights. These lights are invisible to the human eye, but will help the camera illuminate the cabin, no matter the lighting conditions.
Small form factor
One important to note if you are going to install a dash cam is that you need to make sure the placement and the form factor is proper for your vehicle. Mounting the dash cam on the windshield is the preferred spot, but the last thing you want to do is block the student’s view of the road ahead. In fact, in many states, this is illegal and there’s strict requirements on how to mount your dash cam.
That being said, having a large dash cam might not fit on your windshield properly. You will need to be mindful when choosing a dash cam on its form factor and where you will place it. Thankfully, just like most technology, dash cams have become smaller and smaller and can fit nicely behind the rear view mirror.
Instructors may have a set route or a route set by the company. No matter the decision, a parent or a manager may want to ensure that the proper routes have been followed.
A parent may be suspicious of the routes that were taken or the instructor school may want to verify the instructor’s integrity. Instructor’s have a sense of flexibility in that they don’t have to be physically accessible by their manager at a moment’s notice. They are typically out teaching.
If a manager wants to, they should have the ability to monitor the instructor’s work. And I think the instructor would find this fair as well. The instructor is merely an employee of the driving school and is most likely using their vehicle. While this may sound overbearing, trust has to be earned not given.
Dash cams nowadays have GPS units embedded that can track speed, routes taken, time and location.
The GPS can also be used in-conjunction to settle any disputes with customers or even law enforcement. If your student is flagged and stopped by the police, there may be blame cast on your instructor. While the blame can go many different directions, having the actual data along with the cabin footage can tell the full story.
Vantrue N4 3-CH Dash Cam
Driving instructors will appreciate the Vantrue N4 because it’s a 3 camera solution. Front, cabin and rear will film at a 1440P+1080P+1080P resolution all at the same time. This is great because nearly the entire car is covered by a camera, so any accidents can have full context behind them.
While the product looks big in the picture, it’s actually small and can fit in the palm of your hand. We love this dash cam primarily because of the infrared cabin camera. We tested this in both day and night and it had exceptional quality in both circumstances. At night, we drove in the nearly pitch black mountain roads and the cabin camera maintained good cabin quality.
You’ll also be glad to know that the N4 can take a SD card up to 256 GB of memory so you several days of footage is always stored. The one thing we would like to have is GPS, which this unit lacks. Otherwise, this is the perfect dash cam to use for a driving instructor who is looking to protect themselves from accidents and any miscommunication within the cabin.
VAVA Dual Dash Cam
The VAVA Dash Cam is a great choice for those who don’t mind sacrificing a rear camera for a more inexpensive option packed with features. Currently with 5 solid stars on Amazon, the VAVA is the hot dash cam on the market now. It’s understandable as this has a Front and Cabin unit, perfect for driving schools. The cabin camera is also equipped with infrared lights for low light conditions.
One major difference between the Vantrue N4 and the VAVA is that the VAVA has built-in GPS that incorporates your vehicle’s location, speed, route and time. This is really helpful if you need to confirm how many miles were driven which can be used for tax purposes or it can be used to validate agreed upon routes.
The VAVA also incorporates a built-in rechargeable battery, which can monitor your car when parked and record any suspicious activity without the key in the ignition. While the form factor is a bit larger, we find that this fits on the windshield no problem and we have no issue recommending this as a great driving instructor solution. This also can accommodate a 256GB card.
AQP 4K Dual Dash Cam
Finally, we have the AQP Dual Dash Cam. This boasts the highest resolution out of all the other options at 4K front and 1080P cabin. Like all the others, the cabin is illuminated by infrared and has great cabin quality. The front unit isn’t too shabby when it comes to low light either as it is built with a large F/1.8 aperture, letting a lot of light hit its sensor.
WiFi and GPS are built-in so you can easily check routes and footage via smartphone app. This comes with a 32GB card, but supports up to 128GB. This isn’t as much as the others, but the AQP uses LBR video compression technology to reduce the storage of each clip effectively allowing you record for longer.
The form factor is also on the large side, so be mindful of that when deciding on where you mount the dash cam.