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How does inattentional blindness affect roadway safety?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2023 | Car Accidents |

When another driver injures you in a wreck, hearing them say, “I didn’t even see you!” may sound like they’re just making excuses – but they’re probably not.

Something called inattentional blindness makes it very possible for a driver to literally look right past a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle or even another vehicle that’s directly in their line of sight.

How does inattentional blindness work?

Have you ever watched a magician perform magic tricks? Part of the trick always involves getting the audience to focus their attention one way so that they don’t notice what’s happening elsewhere. That’s tapping into the way the human mind works to pull off what looks like magic.

Essentially, your brain filters out what you see and tries to convey only what’s important to your task at hand when you’re concentrating. Most of the time that works really well – until you encounter something that you don’t expect to see where you see it. At that point, your brain may simply filter out some of the most surprising things.

How common is this? Well, in what’s been dubbed “the invisible gorilla test,” people were asked to concentrate on people passing a basketball back and forth and count the passes. About 50% of the participants were concentrating so hard on that task that they failed to notice a person in a gorilla costume enter the scene and leave it again. That’s how strong inattentional blindness can be.

If you’re injured in a wreck with another driver – whether you were driving another vehicle or were a pedestrian – inattentional blindness may be the cause. However, that still doesn’t mean the other driver gets a pass when it comes to paying for your injuries and other losses. Experienced legal guidance can help you get what you’re due.