When you hit the road, it is important to keep your focus on the task at hand and eliminate as many distractions as possible.
Of course, sometimes, this is easier said than done. This is especially the case when the distraction is actually a psychological phenomenon that can happen without much warning or any way for you to really stop the onset.
Inattentional Blindness in Daily Life
The American Psychological Association discusses the psychological phenomenon of inattentional blindness. In daily life, this serves as an important tool for maintaining focus. It allows you to hyper-focus in on one specific thing, blocking out everything else in the process.
For example, if you have a crucial exam to focus on, inattentional blindness may kick in and allow you to ignore any disturbances in the surrounding area. Sometimes, inattentional blindness is so extreme that you might not even notice a fight breaking out at the table right next to yours in the testing hall.
Why It is an Issue for Drivers
With driving, however, inattentional blindness serves as a direct detriment to your safety. The ability to multitask is one of the most important things for driver safety, and inattentional blindness destroys any chance you have of doing that.
For example, you could end up hyper-focusing on your speedometer. Because of that, you end up missing the fact that a light turned red just ahead of you, which could result in you careening through a red light at a busy intersection and hitting another car or getting hit.
The best way to combat this is simply by understanding what it is so you can recognize it and snap yourself out of it when it happens. Currently, there is no foolproof way to stop inattentional blindness.