It’s rare that I post them, but I’ve seen far more Russian dash cam video clips than I can count. Some of you probably have, too. Sometimes I wonder if every single driver in the country has one, because it sure looks that way from the sheer number of videos that pop up of spectacular accidents or fights or what have you that just happen to be caught by the camera in some dude’s car.
But while asking the “what’s up with that?” question is often done in that half serious, half joking manner, it turns out there are good reasons why more than a million Russians have them. They’re often your best defense against corrupt police, staged accidents, fraud and over-priced insurance.
According to Galperina, hit and runs are “very common,” and insurance companies have begun to crack down on claims, often denying any claim with little evidence. Witnesses aren’t much help, either; Russian courts have turned into a he-said-she-said mess when it comes to traffic accidents. “Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law,” Galperina writes.
The technology is much cheaper—ranging from as little as $50 to as much as $200—than insurance. Because of lax law enforcement and scams on the road, including staged crashes and already damaged cars presented as evidence in a new case, buying a good policy is outrageously expensive.
So there’s one of the internet’s greatest mysteries solved.