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How does inattentional blindness affect driver safety?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Drivers should understand all potential risks faced when hitting the road. This includes the risks posed by distraction, which inattentional blindness falls under. Despite this, not very many people discuss the dangers inattentional blindness poses. 

So what exactly is this phenomenon? More importantly, how does it cause drivers harm? To increase your own safety, these are questions you must answer. 

What is inattentional blindness?

The American Psychological Association discusses the impact of inattentional blindness. This phenomenon occurs when a driver focuses to the extreme on one thing, becoming “blind” to everything else in their field of vision. It often afflicts newer drivers, who are not yet used to multitasking on the road. 

A popular example involves road signs and speed. Many drivers hyper-focus on their speed, not wanting to go over the limit. Unfortunately, they look at their speedometer, which takes their eyes away from the road. This easily leads to running stop signs or red lights, which can result in a crash. 

Even experienced drivers sometimes fall prey to inattentional blindness. It is easy to lose focus if another matter occupies your thoughts. Just one second of distraction can cause you to run that light or rear-end a stopped car, though. 

How can you prevent it?

You can do some things to lower your risk of getting into a crash due to inattentional blindness. First, always get enough sleep. Drowsiness makes your mind more likely to wander. Second, avoid driving when your mind gets distracted if possible. Third, practice noticing when your attention starts to drift. This helps you correct any distracted behaviors before they result in injury. By enacting these changes, you may reduce your chance of crashing.