Inattentional blindness is a phenomenon that occurs naturally in your daily life. It serves as a means to help you focus on specific topics, allowing you to disengage from your ability to pick up peripheral and distracting information.
But this only works well in certain situations. If you are driving, inattentional blindness can actually put you and other drivers on the road at great risk.
How inattentional blindness works
According to the American Psychological Association, inattentional blindness harms drivers for many reasons. First, drivers need to have a keen sense of danger at all times. This requires the ability to multitask. Without it, you cannot focus on every potential weakness and every source of risk that you will come across on the road.
Inattentional blindness essentially “blinds” you to whatever you are not currently focused on, whatever that might be. This means that if you focus on a stop sign up ahead, you might not notice the animal getting ready to dart into the road from the side of it.
Who it affects
Some drivers have a false sense of security when it comes to this phenomenon as well, thinking that it only impacts young or inexperienced drivers. But since it is a natural phenomenon that all people experience, it can affect drivers of any age and any experience level.
The best thing experience does for you is allow you to identify when you are starting to hyper-focus. This can help you break out of it fast enough that you can potentially avoid the hazards you did not notice beforehand. In turn, this can bring your chances of crashing back down again.