Car accidents can happen any time of day. But nighttime brings added dangers to any commuter or traveler who drives after sundown. The lack of light can make it difficult for drivers to see road signs, debris and animals. Not to mention, driving in the dark increases the risk of drowsiness behind the wheel.

While you can’t prevent other drivers from unsafe nighttime driving practices, there are driving safety measures you can take that can help you avoid a serious car accident at night.

Don’t drive when you’re tired

Even when you don’t think you’re drowsy, driving when it’s dark can trick your brain into thinking it’s time to go to sleep. So, if you had a long day at work or a sleepless night, driving at night can be dangerous for you and other drivers. You don’t even have to fall asleep at the wheel in order to cause an accident.

Drowsy driving can slow your reaction time, and since it’s more difficult to see road signs and other debris in the dark, you might not be able to react quickly to avoid danger or take the exit you need to take.

If you need to drive in the dark, make sure you are well-rested. Drink caffeine or take a quick cat-nap before driving if you need a boost of energy to ensure you are alert for your journey.

Make sure your headlights work

A burnt-out headlight could mean the difference between a safe trip and a car accident. Headlights help you see potential hazards in the road, and if one or both of your headlights are not working, it could mean trouble for you. In addition, other drivers may not be able to see you coming.

Keep your windshield clean

A dirty windshield might not affect you during the day. But at night, smudges and smears on your windshield can catch the light of streetlamps and other drivers’ headlights and cause glares that can impede your eyesight. Make sure to keep both the outside and the inside of your windshield clean so that you have a clear vision of the road.

If an accident occurs

While being aware of these driving tips can help you stay safe while driving at night, accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, an injury in a car crash can lead to serious and life-changing injuries. Regardless of the time of day of your accident, it’s important that you seek compensation for the damages you received so you can focus on your recovery.