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Why is inattentional blindness harmful to drivers?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drivers like you need the ability to divide your attention among the many potentially deadly distractions you face. This makes multitasking a crucial skill, and it makes anything that detracts from this ability a danger.

Unfortunately, this includes inattentional blindness as well, which is an otherwise natural and normal phenomenon associated with your concentration and information gathering.

What is inattentional blindness?

The American Psychological Association takes a look at how inattentional blindness affects people. This is an inherent ability that works to narrow down your focus when you need it the most. When it kicks in, you tend to hyper-focus on one specific thing to the detriment of your ability to pick up on surrounding details. This works best in small bursts, as you can concentrate on the important subject in question without distraction.

Why is it a risk?

But it is dangerous in certain situations and over an extended period of time. Driving serves as one of those situations. If you cannot focus on multiple sources of danger, then you could easily miss one, leading to an increased chance of a crash. One popular example involves focusing on a street light in the distance and not noticing a pedestrian jaywalking just a few feet away from your car.

On top of this, inattentional blindness can affect any driver at any age or skill level despite the popular misconception that it largely happens to young and inexperienced drivers. This makes it a danger for anyone at all times, which only serves to heighten its danger. All drivers should thus have awareness of this as an issue, so they can combat it if necessary.