Skip to content
Free Fast Shipping in Under 3 Days
Best Price Guaranteed
★★★★★ Over 10,000 Reviews
Financing As Low As $3/Month

How to Choose the Perfect Dash Cam for Your Winter Drive

Snow has officially started in British Columbia. While it’s nice to stay at home and enjoy a cup of coffee, commuters and drivers who need to go out daily seem to have no choice but to face the winter madness – deep snow, traffic chaos, and the holiday shopping rush.

While there are many things you can do to winterize your drive, there isn’t much you can do to ensure total safety on the roads, especially when everyone's skidding and sliding all over the roads – and that's when having a dash cam comes in handy.

No, a dash cam will not prevent the bus from sliding down the hill right into your car, but it will give you the video evidence in any road incident you need to prove that "it wasn't my fault!"

So, what should you look for in a dash cam for your winter drive?

Extra Pro Tip: For maximum protection, learn how to identify, avoid & navigate black ice. Check out this guide from the US government to find out how.

1. Video Quality

At a time when the weather is unpredictable, you cannot afford to have a sub-par dash cam that captures nothing but an unclear and pointless view of the situation. This is why having a 4K dash cam, especially with advanced image sensors like Sony STARVIS 2 can be your clear set of eyes.

Icy roads can be easily missed by cameras with subpar resolution, while high-resolution models can expressly show what caused the incident.

What we recommend: A dash cam that is capable of recording the highest possible resolution for front and rear – the Thinkware U3000 Dual-Channel. For fleets and ride-sharing, it’s best to get a front-interior-rear dash cam such as the VIOFO A229 Pro 3-channel dash cam.

2. Night vision and Auto-Exposure Correction

The dash cam's night vision, or its capacity to record high-quality video during night-time or low-light conditions is extremely important as winter brings early darkness every day, making it more difficult to see through the fog and snow - especially in the dark.

Night Vision and Auto-Exposure are especially important on snowy roads. While in theory, snow makes videos brighter, it can obstruct details requiring a better camera to make them out and cause a lot of reflections, another reason to add a CPL filter to reduce glare. Auto-Exposure helps drastically to compensate for this and correct any inconsistencies caused by snow.  

What we recommend: High-quality dash cams equipped with Sony STARVIS 2 image sensors as well as image auto-correction technologies like High Dynamic Range. The Thinkware U3000 with Super Night Vision 4.0 and the VIOFO A229 series with dual Sony STARVIS 2 image sensors with HDRr are the best ones.

3. Built for Extreme Temperatures

You might have read stories about dash cams failing in cold weather. While the damage caused by a deep winter freeze is not as severe as the scorching summer heat, if a dash cam is outside of its operating temperature range, it will slow down or shut down.

Like any other battery-powered electronic gadget like your mobile phone or DSLR camera, dash cameras work at less than full capacity during below operating temperatures because the chemical reaction that occurs to provide power is hindered.

Moreover, when you change from a cold to a warm environment, condensation may form on the camera and lens. The sudden temperature shift causes moisture to collect inside the device. Condensation can also lead to electrical component damage and corrosion.

So what if temperatures fall below the operating temperature range and your dash cam won’t start? No need to panic just yet. Chances are, when temperatures drop to below freezing, the windshield will frost over, which means you will need to defrost the windows before you can drive off anyway. Luckily, the warm air you're blowing on the windshield is sufficient to warm up the dash cam, and when it's time to start driving, the dash cam will be ready to jump into action.

What if there's snow and ice build-up or condensation on the windshield blocking the camera? Unfortunately, when weather and road conditions get worse, excess snow and ice accumulating on the windshield will block the dash cam's view, so would condensation. A proper installation can help lessen the problem. Like all electronics, dash cams tend to heat up when in use so if the dash cam is hugging the windshield, the heat it gives off is often enough to melt the snow and ice enough for you to wipe down.

What we recommend: Both the BlackVue DR970X 4K UHD Dash Cam and the Thinkware U3000 are recommended for cold temperatures. BlackVue has an operating temperature of -20°C - 80°C (-4°F - 176°F), while the U3000 can operate in -10°C - 60°C (14°F - 140°F) environments.

4. Winter Time Battery Protection

Winter parking typically puts a higher strain on the car battery, especially as sitting idle in the cold can put a strain on the battery to stay topped-up. On a cold day, this extra demand can drain your battery fast, and you certainly don't want to add more burden to your car battery - being left stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery can be traumatic.

What we recommend: The Thinkware U3000 or the Thinkware Q1000 as they come with built-in voltage meters that can prevent car battery drainage by automatically powering off when the car battery's voltage level is running low. The voltage meter is configurable with a wintertime battery protection option, which will increase the cut-off during selected months, giving your battery more breathing room in the cold season.

5. External Battery Pack for Parking Mode

While many accidents happen on the road, some happen when the car is parked and the driver is away. Ever returned to a car to find the windows smashed, sides scraped, etc.? It can get very traumatic, and even more so, if it's dark and freezing cold outside.

Luckily, most dash cam offer parking mode recording - which means the camera doesn't stop recording just because the car's powered off, and one way of ensuring a steady power supply is to hardwire the dash cam to the car's battery.

But during cold winter months, we recommend getting an external battery pack to power your dash cam’s parking mode run-time instead. This way, you eliminate any chances of over-exhaustion on the car’s battery. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a parking lot with a dead car battery, in the middle of a snowstorm.

What we recommend: The BlackboxMyCar PowerCell8. It is a lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) cell and is built to withstand extreme temperatures. With a capacity of 96Wh/7500mAh, the PowerCell 8 gives you 25% more power than competitors.

Need to make sure they have enough power for an extending parking mode? You can link up as many extended batteries to the PowerCell 8 as you need.

6. Cloud Ready

There is more to a dashcam’s Cloud capabilities than just live streaming your travels. Here are some of the benefits that a cloud-ready dash cam can bring to your drive during the wintertime:

    1. Push Notifications - receive notifications on your phone when an accident occurs, whether the vehicle is in drive or park
    2. Remote Live View - remotely monitor your vehicle in real-time from anywhere; comes in handy when the weather is getting worse and you want to see if you should bring out the shovel to dig your car out, or just abandon it altogether
    3. Cloud Backup - videos are immediately available via the Internet using the mobile viewer app, and if the dash cam gets stolen or damaged, the videos are safe in your cloud storage account
    4. Two-way voice communication - you can communicate with any smartphone connected to your dash cam, which comes in handy when you need them to send roadside assistance

What we recommend: The BlackVue DR770X-2CH LTE Full HD or the BlackVue DR970X-2CH with the CM100 LTE module are our top Cloud dash cams.

Expert Tip: Spare SD Card

In general, SD cards are temperature tolerant. For instance, SanDisk rates all of their cards down to -13 °F. Any good-quality SD card will operate in any weather your camera will operate. But, we still recommend having a spare SD card handy, even if it’s a smaller one, for all the “just in case” situations, ie. you want to save that jaw-dropping clip of a family of deer galloping in the snow.

When buying an SD card, do watch out for poor quality or fake SD cards. Unfortunately, there is a large market of fake SD cards and while some of these fake SD cards have no-name brands, most of them look legit. Using a poor quality or incompatible SD card on your dash cam may cause your dash cam to stop recording and even shut down. You can read more about it in our article Best SD Card for 4K Dash Cams.

What we recommend: Our advice is to only buy from trusted resellers. eBay and Amazon are known to have a large problem with sellers distributing fake SD cards. When in doubt, use your common sense. If the price is much lower than the general market price, there is a high chance that the SD card is not genuine. And you can always pick up a spare SD card from our website.


While you can't just stay home and avoid the road the entire winter, you can winterize your drive so that you are better equipped for any situations or incidents. Do you have questions or want more tips on how to winterize your dash cam system for the winter season? Come talk to us! 

Looking for more advanced advice on what to look for out of your Dash Cam in cold climates? Learn how to Conquer the Cold here.