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How Does Inattentional Blindness Affect Drivers?


When you hit the road, you are susceptible to many different forms of distraction. In fact, distracted driving is one of the most common causes for crashes, even beating out driving while under the influence.

Among the many potential distractions that you face, some are more familiar than others. Others might come from a completely unexpected place, such as inattentional blindness.

What is inattentional blindness?

The American Psychological Association examines the impact of inattentional blindness on drivers. First, what is this phenomenon? It is actually a natural part of the human body and is a way for our brains to prioritize and focus on important information. If your brain could not do this, you would get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you take in every minute of the day.

However, while this works well in most situations, it acts in a detrimental way against you as a driver. This is because drivers need the ability to multitask. Hyper-focusing on one thing can result in you missing important signs that could have given you a heads up about potential crashes or roadway dangers.

Who does it affect?

It is also important to note that any driver could fall victim to inattentional blindness. Often, young or new drivers end up taking the blame for these types of crashes. But in reality, since inattentional blindness is a normal function of the brain, it can impact anyone. Older and more experienced drivers simply understand how to recognize falling into a pattern of hyperfocus faster and can break out of it more quickly. This is a tactic that all drivers should learn for their own safety, as well as the safety of others on the road.