Could inattentional blindness be to blame for a car accident?

There are many hazards you encounter when driving, but not all of them are obvious. Simply Psychology explains inattentional blindness is a struggle for some people and could lead to car accidents.

Inattentional blindness is when you do not see something that you should. For example, you may not see a car stopped ahead of you even though it is clearly visible and you should have seen it.


The criteria that define inattentional blindness included not seeing an object or something happening within your line of sight and failing to recognize it. There must not be anything obscuring your visual field or otherwise making it difficult to see. There must be a clear line of sight for it to be inattentional blindness.

In short, inattentional blindness occurs not because you do not see something but rather because it fails to grab your attention.


Why does inattentional blindness happen? In order to understand how to prevent it, you must know why it happens. The most logical answer is that your attention is on something else. For example, if you are watching a football game and focusing on the ball, you may not notice a hard hit to the ball carrier. It was clear and easy for you to see, but since your focus was on the ball, you were not paying attention to the people carrying it.

While you may not be able to completely stop inattentional blindness, you can take steps to try to avoid it. The biggest thing you can do is ensure your full attention is always on driving. Any distractions, even mental distractions, such as thinking about what you will make for supper, can put you at risk of inattentional blindness.


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