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.

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