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License Plates in Dash Cam Footage

Road incidents are inevitable. No matter how defensive of a driver you are, the possibility of you getting involved in a mishap is always present as you share the road to everyone. The good news is during the time you need to defend yourself in a situation where you’re innocent, you can be saved by a dash cam.

We mean it when we say that dash cams are life-savers. Its ability to capture road details, especially license plates, has already closed hundreds of thousands of driving-related cases – big and small – around the world. In this article, we will discuss the importance of the readability of license plates in a dash cam, plus the features you have to consider when getting evidence is your priority.

Why is License Plate Visibility Important in a Dash Cam?

License plates are your car’s ID, and the moment you’re able to capture it, the easier for you to track who is responsible in the incident – of course, if you think it’s not your fault. Beyond that, here are the reasons why your dash cam should be able to prioritize license plate visibility.

You Know Who is Accountable

Dash cams are our silent witnesses. In the event of an accident or traffic violation, having an identifiable license plate enables law enforcement to determine who is at fault. Based on the details shown by the footage, the authorities can take necessary actions, such as issuing tickets or filing insurance claims.

Road Safety First

Moreover, the ability to capture license plates becomes a strong weapon in identifying and apprehending people involved in cases of hit-and-run accidents or reckless driving. With this, drivers are more inclined to show caution and follow traffic laws when they are aware that their activities are being recorded.

Conveyors of the Truth

Again, dash cams are your saviours, and most accurate storytellers. During a road accident, involved parties may include different descriptions of events, leaving contradictory narratives. Thus, the ability to record license plate information aids in providing an unbiased and objective description of the incident.

What should I consider in my dash cam to ensure license plate visibility?

Modern dash cam brands like VIOFO, Thinkware, and BlackVue have definitely loaded their models with smart features to ensure excellent license plate visibility. For us, the features that we consider on top are these:

Video Resolution

Current dash cams are available in full HD or 1080p, 2K QHD, and 4K video resolutions. Of course, for the sharpest image quality, we recommend a 4K dash cam. If you drive in a busy road filled with cars, a high-resolution dash cam like the Thinkware U3000 or the BlackVue DR970X can guarantee that the license plate details are more visible and readable.

Frame Rate

Another thing to consider is the frame rate. Most dash cams record standard in 30 frames per second. However, newer dash cams, even full HD like the BlackVue DR770X and BlackVue DR770X Box are able to record footage in 1080p at up to 60 frames per second. This is also recommended if you’re usually driving on fast-speed highways, as the higher frame rate greatly reduces motion blur.

Learn more about the advantages of 4K and 60 fps dash cams here.  

Field of View

Your dash cam lens' field of view (FOV) controls how much of the surrounding environment is caught in the clip – the lanes, the cars beside you, or the road signs nearby. A wider FOV enables for a broader percentage of the scene to be included in the frame, including license plates. In our dash cam lineup, the model with the widest FOV for the front camera is the latest Thinkware U3000 4K dash cam with 158-degrees.

Low-Light Performance and Night Vision

We know that not all roads are well-lit, especially under tunnels or during the night. Because of this, the visibility of license plates suffers. If your dash cam has a Sony STARVIS sensor – better if the Sony STARVIS 2, like the VIOFO A139 Pro or Thinkware U3000, you don’t have to worry about license plates not being seen in dark conditions. While these dash cams have Super Night Vision, they also have High Dynamic Range that improves the footage’s white balance, contrast and overall quality.

Positioning and Mounting of the Dash Cam

Another major consideration on getting clear license plates is your dash cam’s mount. The dash cam should ideally be mounted in a position that allows for an unobstructed view of the road ahead. For us, mounting it close or behind the rearview mirror provides a clear line of sight.

Image Stabilization

Can you imagine yourself trying to take photos inside a bumpy car? You’re more likely to get blurred footage! However, if you don’t want to experience this, look for a dash cam that has image stabilization technology to help correct for vibrations and motions, resulting in crisper film. This feature is very useful for taking license plates when driving on hilly or uneven roads. We recommend the BlackVue DR970X 4K UHD dash cam or the BlackVue DR770X Full HD dash cam for its ISP tuning software.

GPS for Vehicle Speed Differential

Visibility can be affected by the distance between the dash cam and the car whose license plate is being caught, as well as the speed of the vehicles involved. VIOFO, BlackVue and Thinkware dash cams often have built-in GPS, so you can track your speed and detect whether you’re close enough to the other vehicle. The closer the dash cam is to the target car and the slower the speed, the more likely it will capture a clear and legible license plate.

External Windshield Elements

While it’s challenging to capture license plates during the night, we think that it’s more difficult to capture decent footage if it’s raining outside! The raindrops usually ruin dash cam footage, and when you pass by the dusty road, it becomes dirty and restricts your view. To make sure that these external weather elements don’t get in the way of your lens-capturing license plates, you should use a dash cam rain guard such as the BlackboxMyCar Aqua Shield.


Don’t settle for mediocre footage, choose a dash cam from us!

You can be sure that when you buy dash cams from BlackboxMyCar, you’re investing in the highest quality dash cams in the market. Not sure exactly what to choose from the premium dash cams we mentioned? Our team of customer service experts are standing by to offer you the expert advice you need through every step of the way and ensure that you pick the right addition for you!