Inattentional blindness serves as a natural psychological phenomenon meant to help people concentrate on important matters. Unfortunately, it can cause just as many problems, too.
This is especially true for drivers who do not understand the potential problems that inattentional blindness may cause.
Defining inattentional blindness
VeryWell Mind takes a look at inattentional blindness. This phenomenon exists as a way to allow people to focus on one specific item or task at hand. However, it happens at the exclusion of everything else. In other words, a person becomes “blind” to their surroundings outside of whatever they focused on.
In certain contexts, this is helpful. For example, a surgeon wants to focus all of their attention on the operation at hand and not end up distracted by things happening on the other side of the room.
The problem with distractions and driving
But it can also pose a potential danger, which is quite clear when it comes to drivers. For example, a driver may end up focusing too intently on their speedometer to ensure they do not go over the limit. Because of that, they may miss that the light ahead has already turned red, leading to them driving through the intersection and hitting someone or getting hit.
Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent inattentional blindness, as it is a natural and reflexive phenomenon people have little control over. However, if a driver comes to understand what it is and familiarizes themselves with the feeling of hyper-focus, they can break out of it if they feel themselves slipping into it while driving. This could potentially help prevent accidents.