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How does inattentional blindness cause car crashes?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

As a driver in North Carolina, you understand the risks of the road. Dangerous driving behaviors impact the safety of everyone else. You cannot always tell who is engaging in these behaviors, either. 

Distracted driving is one form of dangerous driving behavior. Many of these actions are voluntary. But some may happen without your awareness. Inattentional blindness falls into this category. 

Why inattentional blindness does not help drivers 

The American Psychological Association reassures you that inattentional blindness is not unnatural. Rather, it is your brain’s way of keeping track of the world around you. You do not catalog every detail you come across. If you did that, you would end up overwhelmed in minutes. Inattentional blindness is a result of your brain focusing on the important information. For example, if someone tells you their name, you may not remember the color of their shirt. 

The issue comes from the fact that driving needs multitasking. You cannot ignore details that are not relevant in the moment. Every detail helps you decide how safe you are. Each piece of information tells you if any dangers are approaching. Inattentional blindness detracts from your ability to do this. 

Inattentional blindness leads to distraction 

A common example of inattentional blindness involves animals crossing the road. This is an unexpected danger. You may think paying close attention to your speed or surrounding traffic is good. In reality, paying it too much mind detracts from your ability to react to surprise risks. 

Also, any driver can fall prey to inattentional blindness. It is a natural condition of the human mind. Newer drivers might have a higher risk rate, but it can happen to anyone.