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How is inattentional blindness harmful?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Car Crashes

Many psychological reflexes developed because of a natural survival response back in the earliest days of human evolution. This includes inattentional blindness, which can have many positive effects.

At the same time, however, it can prove potentially dangerous to people. This is especially true for drivers who do not know to expect this.

Driver distraction and inattentional blindness

VeryWell Mind discusses inattentional blindness as a psychological phenomenon. It exists as a way for the brain to focus on one important task without getting distracted by anything else. It comes in handy in certain cases, such as when a surgeon needs to focus on a crucial surgery without outside distractions interfering.

At the same time, though, a complete distraction from all outside sources of information could lead to fatal accidents. This is especially true for drivers because driving requires a person to have strong multitasking abilities in the first place.

A driver who ends up dealing with inattentional blindness could easily end up focusing on a light they see ahead, waiting to see if it will turn red while they approach. This single-minded focus could prevent them from seeing an animal on the side of the road, preparing to dash out and cause a crash.

How do you deal with it?

Unfortunately, inattentional blindness serves as a phenomenon with no way of really turning it off. It is hard to predict when it will affect a person, too.

However, it is possible for drivers to come to recognize and predict the way that inattentional blindness affects them. Like this, they can break themselves out of these moments of hyper-focus and return their attention to the road.