Some crashes in Georgia fall into the “looked but failed to see” category. The driver looked for oncoming objects, made a turn or pulled out into traffic, and hit a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian. If motorists really are looking, why are they not seeing?
Safety experts warn people on two wheels or on foot to wear bright colors and reflective tape, but a lack of visibility does not account for all the collisions. According to Science Daily, the issue is actually inattentional blindness.
What causes inattentional blindness?
The human brain can only process so much information before it goes into overload. In order to streamline the intake and processing of the world around it, the brain filters out some information.
Some studies suggest that the brain only processes what it expects to see, and filters out the rest. When it comes to driving, it seems that what the brain most often expects is other vehicles. Bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians get caught in the filter.
How can drivers combat inattentional blindness?
Simply learning about how the brain processes information about its surroundings on the roads can improve a driver’s ability to see what he or she is looking at, according to Road and Track.
Becoming conscious of what happens while scanning the surroundings may bring to light those on the road who are not in vehicles, eliminating the “failed to see” factor. As a result, the brain is likely to receive a wider variety of visual information, and present a better quality of mental picture. What would have been invisible before makes it onto the mental map of the driver’s surroundings and prevents an accident.