What is inattentional blindness as related to driving?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drivers need to maintain full control of their faculties when behind the wheel. Of course, this means avoiding obvious dangers such as texting while driving.

It also includes lesser-known but equally dangerous risks, like inattentional blindness, which most drivers have not even heard of before.

The daily benefits of inattentional blindness

The American Psychological Association looks into inattentional blindness as a psychological phenomenon that occurs naturally. It is a way to allow the mind to hyper-focus on certain things over others when it perceives that one thing is of greater importance.

In daily life, this can actually prove beneficial. It allows you to do things like focus on writing an essay for an exam while tuning out the buzzing sound of a nearby lightbulb, or ignoring any other disruptions like people talking loudly nearby.

The ultimate risk of distraction while driving

In driving, it could prove deadly. Unfortunately, one of the most important skills of a driver is their ability to multitask. After all, drivers must focus on several different things at the same time to stay safe and maintain awareness of their surroundings.

If inattentional blindness strikes, it could mean focusing on a stoplight and missing the fact that another car has poised to speed through the intersection at the last second. It could mean paying too much attention to the speedometer and missing an animal jumping out into the road.

Unfortunately, there is no real way to combat inattentional blindness as it is a natural and uncontrollable reaction. However, drivers can become aware of this phenomenon and what it feels like. This way, if it ever happens, they can recognize it and disengage safely.


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