Your brain has several natural measures in place to help you process the world around you in an understandable way. Inattentional blindness falls under this category, and under normal circumstances, it serves a crucial purpose.
But this is unfortunately not the case when you hit the road. This helpful and natural phenomenon can instead end up doing you a lot of harm, even leading to the possibility of a crash.
Inattentional blindness in daily life
The American Psychological Association discusses the natural phenomenon of inattentional blindness. As mentioned, this normally serves an important purpose in your daily life. It allows you to focus on only the pertinent information related directly to the task at hand. In other words, it serves as a sort of “tunnel vision” that lets you focus exclusively on your current objective without succumbing to outside distractions.
After all, think about the sheer amount of information you take in on a minute-by-minute basis. If your brain treated each thing you saw with equal weight, then you would end up overwhelmed in mere seconds. Thus, inattentional blindness serves an important purpose normally.
Inattentional blindness when driving
But drivers need a strong ability to multitask, for their own safety. You need to focus on multiple potential sources of danger at once without spending too much time on any one source of trouble, and inattentional blindness renders this impossible.
This can also impact drivers of all ages and experiences, despite stereotyping that points toward younger or less experienced drivers. After all, it is a natural phenomenon; this is important to keep in mind when making plans on how to counter this danger.