Many different distractions in a car can potentially contribute to the chance of you crashing. Of these incidents and issues, inattentional blindness serves as a lesser-known entity. But that does not make it any less of a risk.
In fact, studies point to a rise in crashes relating to inattentional blindness, which is a form of distracted driving.
What is inattentional blindness?
As the American Psychological Association states, any form of distracted driving can impact a driver’s safety. This goes for texting while driving, eating, drinking, or even just talking to passengers riding in the vehicle with you.
Inattentional blindness specifically refers to a psychological phenomenon. It narrows your focus to only one topic and allows you to give said topic your full and undivided attention, but it comes at the cost of noticing your surroundings and the small details within it. For example, the classic study displaying inattentional blindness involves a person counting how many times players in red shirts pass a basketball while a man in a gorilla suit walks through the group. Many of the people counting passes did not notice the gorilla suit.
Why is it dangerous?
If you apply this to driving, it is quite dangerous indeed. For example, someone could focus so intently on their speedometer that they completely miss a stop sign or traffic light. This can lead to head-on or sidelong collisions, which may harm passengers in their own vehicle or drivers and passengers in other cars.
Awareness of these distractions is one of the best ways to combat them. Otherwise, crash statistics related to this form of distraction may continue to rise.