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What is inattentional blindness?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2021 | blog, Car Accidents

Drivers like you need to have the important skill of multitasking. It is what allows you to pay attention to multiple potential sources of danger at the same time, thus avoiding as many risks as possible.

But sometimes, our own systems get in our way. This is often the case with inattentional blindness. But exactly what is it, and why does it cause such an issue for drivers everywhere?

Inattentional blindness in daily life

The American Psychological Association dives into inattentional blindness as a phenomenon. In daily life, this is actually a crucial component of how we function. Imagine trying to mentally remember and sort every single thing you see throughout the course of a day. It would get overwhelming quickly. Not only that, but you would struggle to recall the actual important details in a sea of useless information.

In such situations, inattentional blindness actually helps you out. It allows you to focus on the truly important matters in a scenario: i.e., whatever you think is important enough to fix all of your attention on.

The deadly combination with driving

When driving, however, this could prove a dangerous or even deadly “distraction”. An example of inattentional blindness in a driver could involve a scenario where a driver is paying full attention to a stoplight up ahead. But because of this fixed attention, they do not notice a deer moving out of the forest until it is too late to hit the brakes.

This phenomenon does not just affect new or young drivers, either. Drivers of every age and experience can exhibit this behavior, which is important to note so drivers do not overestimate themselves.


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