Inattentional blindness is a phenomenon that most people experience many times in their life without even realizing it. Under normal circumstances, it serves as a way to cut down on the superfluous extra information you absorb in a given situation so you can focus on what is important.
But as a driver, can this cause you more harm than good? Should you feel concerned about the potential impact inattentional blindness may have on your driving?
The impact of inattentional blindness
The American Psychological Association examines inattentional blindness and its impact on drivers. As mentioned, inattentional blindness is a natural phenomenon that almost everyone experiences. It allows you to hyper-focus on one specific thing, and ignore the supplementary information that your brain may otherwise end up distracted by.
For example, if you are trying to count how many people are wearing blue shirts in a basketball game, it lets you ignore other details like the type of shoes they wear or how many of them have hats on.
Under safe and controlled circumstances, this serves as a great way to limit the amount of excess information you take in, which can often end up a huge distraction and detractor from your ability to focus.
The need for multitasking
But when driving, you need multitasking skills more than almost any other type of skill. After all, you will face dangers from all directions at the same time. If you focus on only one, you could easily miss another. Though many people mistakenly believe this only impacts younger or inexperienced drivers, it can happen to anyone at any time. Understanding this is the first step to take in making preparations to avoid this danger, which can greatly increase your chance of getting into a crash.