Is inattentional blindness dangerous to drivers?

California drivers like you often share the road with many other people. At times, these other drivers do unpredictable or dangerous things. Many dangerous driving behaviors fall into the category of distracted driving.

When people discuss distracted driving, they often refer to drowsy driving. Texting while driving is another big one. But what about the other, lesser known contributors? Inattentional blindness is one of them.

How does inattentional blindness work?

According to the American Psychological Association, inattentional blindness is a normal phenomenon. It allows you to focus in on what is important in any given situation. This automatic prioritization allows you to function in daily life. Without it, you would end up overwhelmed. Your mind may not know what to focus on.

Multitasking while driving

Unfortunately, driving is counterintuitive to this. Unlike daily life, you must pay attention to everything at all times when driving. Multitasking is crucial to the safety of you and other drivers. You must multitask to determine where danger may come from. Inattentional blindness gets in your way. It forces you to focus on one thing, while ignoring the rest. For example, you may focus on your speed and not notice an upcoming stop sign. Studies speculate that newer drivers are more prone to inattentional blindness. This is because they are not used to multitasking. But it can strike any driver at any time.

Inattentional blindness is hard to fight against because your body does it naturally. But being aware of its existence can help you. If you notice yourself hyperfocusing, remind yourself to spread your focus out. In doing this, you may end up saving yourself or another driver from a potential crash.

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