As a driver, multitasking is one of the most important skills you can master. In fact, without this ability, you may have a higher chance of involvement in a crash than other drivers of similar age and experience.
Unfortunately, you have a natural phenomenon working against you in the form of inattentional blindness. But what exactly is this, and why does it affect your ability to drive?
Inattentional blindness in daily life
The American Psychological Association examines inattentional blindness both in and out of the car. This natural phenomenon is a normal part of the way the brain functions and usually helps us in daily life. It occurs when you focus on one specific thing, naturally tuning out anything you are not paying close attention to. This allows you to absorb information solely based on what you prioritize and deem important at any given time.
In normal daily life, this provides a crucial service as you would end up immediately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you take in every minute otherwise. But when behind the wheel, it can serve as a major detriment. After all, if you end up focusing on only one issue, you easily miss other dangers heading your way.
Who does it affect?
Of note: this may occur to any driver regardless of age or experience, despite the fact that many falsely assume younger and inexperienced drivers make up the majority of these crashes. Because inattentional blindness is a normal biological response to distraction, it is hard to fight against it. The best thing you can do is understand what it is, so you can keep an eye out in the event that you notice your attention drifting.