Drivers should make every possible effort toward hitting the road in a sound state of mind and body. Unfortunately, sometimes natural human biology works against the attempts at doing so.
This is the case with inattentional blindness, a natural psychological phenomenon that is not typically dangerous – until you get behind the wheel.
Inattentional blindness in daily life
Noba discusses the phenomenon of inattentional blindness and its impacts. Inattentional blindness is a natural phenomenon that occurs as a way for the mind to focus on one specific task without getting distracted by other, less important duties. Under normal circumstances, this works to your benefit, letting you focus all your energy and brainpower on figuring out the task you want to pay attention to.
Unfortunately, driving is not that sort of situation. You must multitask in order to stay safe on the road. Inattentional blindness interferes with your ability to divide your attention, which can actually have the same impact as having your attention distracted by external or internal forces.
What does it look like in drivers?
For example, say you spot a patrol car nearby running a speed check. In order to ensure you are going within the appropriate speeding range, your attention shifts entirely to your speedometer. In doing so, you miss a stop sign up ahead and run through it, potentially crashing into other vehicles already in the intersection.
This is just one of many examples of how inattentional blindness can lead to crashes, too. But once you have an awareness of this occurrence, you can work toward mitigating it by recognizing it and disengaging from the hyper-focus faster than before.