TAMPA - The meteor bursting into a fireball over Russia last week was amazing enough, but it got a lot of us wondering. How did there come to be so many video clips of an event that lasted just a few seconds?
The answer is dash cams, common in Russia and getting more popular here.
In parts of Russia, driving is a contact sport. Hit and run accidents are common, road conditions are primitive in some areas and scammers entrap drivers into staged accidents.
Having a video record that tells your side of the story is considered good insurance. As a result, dash-cams are standard equipment for many Russians.
That's why the same technology that documents so many painful car crashes seen on YouTube also gave us breathtaking views of the meteor piercing the atmosphere over the Ural Mountains.
Gabe Marrero of 813 Customs on Nebraska Avenue is seeing an uptick in interest in dashboard cameras for private cars. He's installing a half-dozen dash cams a month, especially on pricey classic cars he restores.
"They can watch their investment and these streets are getting pretty crazy right now, with people blowing red lights. God forbid you get in an accident, you've got some footage to help the police officers out," said Marrero.
Some want cameras to watch the road, but many are installing multiple cameras on their vehicles that record even while they're not driving to catch thieves, vandals, or even their own family members.
"They're watching their kids sneak out of the house at night time. They're getting caught. They don't know how they're getting caught, but they're getting caught," said Marrero.
So as dash-cams on private vehicles become more common, our roadways, like those of Russia now, are sure to turn into a perpetually running reality show exposing the awesome, frightening and ridiculous for all the world to see.
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