How does inattentional blindness affect driver safety?

North Carolina drivers like you understand the dangers that distractions pose. Distracted driving behaviors cause a large number of crashes. Drowsy driving alone causes thousands of fatalities a year. 

But what about the lesser known distracted driving behaviors? What about the ones that are unintentional? The ones that you have no control over? This is where inattentional blindness ends up categorized. 

The phenomenon of inattentional blindness

The American Psychological Association looks at how inattentional blindness affects your focus. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs when your brain wants to focus on one thing. Your brain determines what is most important in a scenario. From there, it stops focusing on the surrounding details. This allows you to retain important information and filter out unimportant things. 

Unfortunately, driving does not work like that. You cannot easily determine where the dangers will come from. This means you cannot discard information in a quick way. But this is exactly what inattentional blindness causes you to do. It works against the need for drivers to multitask. For example, you may suffer from inattentional blindness when focusing on oncoming traffic. Because of that single-minded focus, you do not notice a stop sign you are about to ignore. 

Who is most at risk?

Some studies speculate that newer drivers are more at risk. They have a higher chance of crashing due to inattentional blindness. This is because new drivers do not have as much experience. But inattentional blindness affects everyone of any age and all abilities. It is important for drivers to keep this in mind. Overconfidence can lead to letting your guard down. In turn, this leads to crashes. 

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