Under normal circumstances, inattentional blindness is not a bad thing. In fact, it serves an important purpose in allowing you to block out distracting information that takes away from a crucial point of focus.
But when you add driving into the mix, this can serve as a dangerous – or even deadly – phenomenon. But exactly what is it, and why should you worry about it?
What is inattentional blindness?
The American Psychological Association reveals how inattentional blindness can prove deadly for drivers. Inattentional blindness is a natural phenomenon that occurs when you focus very intently on one specific thing. It allows you to tune out, or “become blind” to any superfluous bits of information rather than absorbing them. This is great if you need to focus on something without distraction.
The importance of multitasking
Unfortunately, driving very much relies on your ability to multitask. You need to spot dangers as they appear, wherever they appear, which may come in many forms and from different angles. For example, if you focus exclusively on your speedometer, you could run a red light. If you focus only on a stop sign up ahead, you could miss the deer getting ready to cross the road in front of your car.
Many drivers mistakenly believe that this will happen to them less often as they age or gain driving experience. However, inattentional blindness is a natural phenomenon that we often have no control over or even notice happening. The one thing that helps is awareness of it because then you can shake yourself out of this state of mind in an easier way. This in turn should help lower your chances of getting into a crash.