Inattentional blindness is a natural phenomenon that occurs in most people’s lives at least once, and often many more times than that. While it normally does not pose much of an issue, it can actually end up a major threat in some circumstances.
This is the case for drivers, unfortunately. Just one instance of inattentional blindness striking on the road could lead to a potentially fatal crash.
The risks of inattentional blindness
According to the American Psychological Association, inattentional blindness can pose a major risk to drivers. This is due to its nature as a mental mechanic that allows a person to focus on one specific thing, to the exclusion of anything else.
This is a major boon in certain circumstances, such as if a person needs to focus on a task with potentially lethal consequences. However, even in other situations outside of driving, it can cause problems. Some particularly astounding examples include workers in a laboratory not noticing that a fire had broken out on the other side due to the intensity they focused on their work with.
Drivers and inattentional blindness
Of course, this can happen to drivers, too. For example, a driver could end up hyper-focused on their speedometer. Because of that, they do not notice that a light ahead of them turned red, which could result in them careening through an intersection and getting hit or hitting someone else.
Unfortunately, there is no way to really “turn off” the possibility of inattentional blindness. However, drivers can learn to recognize the signs of it. That way, if they notice their attention beginning to narrow in, they can break themselves out of it.