Should a meteor streak across the skies over North America in the near future, the best we could likely expect for video documentation might be the handiwork of some speedy smartphone users, or footage from security cameras in nearby buildings.
So how did Russia end up with so much video evidence of the meteor? The answer, as we’ve seen, is the country’s proliferation of dashboard cameras. And it turns out Russia’s enthusiasm for dash-cams is well-documented.
“Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law,” writes Marina Galperina in a report in Animal New York. “Forget witnesses. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies notoriously specialize in denying claims.” (Warning: link contains a dash-cam thesaurus, which contains the sort of salty language you might expect in reactions to horrific collisions.)
Roughly a million Russians have them, reports Al Jazeera: “The main reason they’re so popular in Russia is because of a deep distrust of police, and a widespread belief of corruption in the legal system,” says host Charles Stratford.
For those considering a dash-cam of their own, Amazon has them by the dozen, at a range of price points. “Lots of idiots on the road, gets down to He said She Said deal, so basically this is insurance for your insurance, and piece of mind,” writes one satisfied customer.
And for the very brave, here’s a compilation from Jalopnik of the craziest Russian dash-cam videos of 2012.