What is inattentional blindness?

| Jun 9, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

As a driver, you need to have awareness of all potential dangers you may face on the road. This includes the ones you hear about far less, such as inattentional blindness.

But what is this issue? How prominent is it? Why does it affect your driving, and how does it pose a danger to you and everyone you share the road with?

Inattentional blindness and driving

According to the American Psychological Association, inattentional blindness can cause many problems on the road. Inattentional blindness is a psychological phenomenon that involves your concentration. If you focus too much on one specific thing, then you lose sight of every other detail and piece of information in the picture.

A driving-related example involves road signs and animals. Say you are approaching a sign up ahead, but you cannot read what it says. Instead of waiting to get closer, you focus entirely on that sign, trying to read it. In the meantime, a deer darts into the road in front of your car. Due to your distraction, you cannot react fast enough and end up striking the deer.

Now apply this to any other situation where you are not spreading your attention enough. It can happen to anyone at any time, whether you are a new driver or someone who has spent years on the road already.

When does it occur?

However, it does tend to occur more often with drivers already suffering from other distractions, or drivers who do not get enough sleep. Inexperienced drivers are also more susceptible because they have not had much practice with dividing their attention. This is a crucial skill that allows you to circumvent the dangers of hyperfixation and inattentional blindness.