What is inattentional blindness?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Personal Injury

Sometimes, drivers can put themselves at risk on the road without being aware they are doing it. Cognitive distractions are a real problem, but it is only something each person can control, and in some cases, they may not even realize a distraction is occurring.

An issue called inattentional blindness may be to blame. This occurs when a person does not see something happening right in front of them in clear view.


Inattentional blindness may mean not recognizing an issue in front of you, overlooking something in the roadway or otherwise not seeing something that should be obvious. For it to be this condition, the sight path must be clear. It happens because the mind is not focused and whatever is happening fails to get the attention of the driver.


Inattentional blindness happens because of cognitive distraction. The driver may be listening to something that has captured his or her attention, talking to someone or simply tuning out and not paying attention. It can happen in other scenarios besides driving because the human mind has a way of hyper-focusing on one thing to the determent of noticing other things around it. People do not realize what is happening until it causes an issue. For example, a driver may think he or she is focusing on driving until suddenly there seems to be a car stopped ahead that was not seen until it is too late and a rear-end collision occurs.

Because inattentional blindness is a cognitive issue, it is difficult to completely prevent it from happening. But the best way to be a safer driver and avoid this issue is to put complete focus on driving and remove all other distractions.