Tesla Dashcam: more good than bad, but not what I was hoping for

On the drive home tonight, I witnessed a vehicle hit and run. A black SUV was rear ended by a white Toyota Truck. The Toyota Truck then fled the scene. I was the unlucky car behind the accident when it happened. My car, a Tesla Model 3, has Dashcam enabled. Dashcam records the videos from all of the exterior cameras on the vehicle and saves them to a USB flash drive for later viewing. Using this footage we were able to partially reconstruct the accident which is posted below.

In the first clip, the Dashcam software is recording my car following the white Toyota Truck that ultimately hits the black SUV in front of it. The original video is 54 seconds long and starts with my car sitting at a red light waiting to be given a green turn light for 40 seconds. I trimmed the video to spare you 40 seconds of boredom. What I learned tonight is that 54 seconds appears to be the maximum length of any one video clip that the Tesla records, then the car waits 1 full minute before recording another video. In this case, the result is that the last 1 second of the video is all you witness to the accident and it’s simply the truck hitting its brake lights. In the next 1 minute the truck slams into the SUV, rips off its right tail light and then pulls around the SUV and drives off. The second video starts recording just in time to barely catch the truck fleeing the scene by pulling into bank parking lot but provides a decent view of the damage left behind.

I shared the license plate of the Toyota Truck with the driver of the SUV so she could report it to the police. Shortly after she texted to write that the Toyota Truck did eventually return to the scene to take responsibility for the accident. Both the Toyota and the SUV drivers had babies in the vehicles and the Toyota driver decided it would be best to deliver the baby home first and then come back to the scene to take responsibility.

The Dashcam feature has the potential to provide clarity when accidents happen, but that 1 minute gap in between videos is a challenge should you happen to have the accident during that 1 minute gap.

Welcome Home

You have been traveling for work and you just made it to your front door. It’s midnight. You are exhausted from the plane, then train, then Uber ride home. That bed is going to feel amazing moments from now. There is a package on your front door. It is not just any package … it’s an Amazon.com package.

You pick it up, now juggling the mail and your luggage and push your way into the empty house. As you remove your shoes, drop your keys on the counter, and pull out a days worth of travel garbage from your pants pockets that voice in the back of your head starts calling. “What’s in the box!?”

You ignore it long enough to hit the bathroom, long enough to undo your tie, and the sight of the bed even pulls you closer to Dreamland, but you can’t ignore the voice. Back to the counter you look at the box and notice blonde hair on the box. You don’t remember ordering Taylor Swift from Amazon.com but there she is plastered all over the cardboard. Turning the box around in your hands a few time to see all the different angles of Taylor Swift you carefully try to not rip her head in half as you remove the tape and pull back the flaps. She’s not inside. It’s only a box of Category 7 cables. And then you remember what home networking project those cables are for and all thoughts of Swift and Dreamland are swept aside as you burn the midnight oil upgrading your home network. You are a geek. And you are home.