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The Dangers of Driving a Truck While ‘Attentionally Blind’

West Virginia truck accident attorneysA big rig driver who is not paying attention to the road can mean disaster for him and his fellow drivers. Focusing too much on the road ahead can also be detrimental.

An 80,000-pound truck hitting a 5,000-pound car can make a deadly impact, which is why the attorneys at Mani Ellis & Layne want you to be aware of inattentive truck drivers.

According to Fleet Owner, even when we are intently focused on the road ahead we can fail to take important actions or miss critical information. Looking is simply not the same as seeing.

For example, a driver navigating a turn could still nearly miss a driver right in front of them. A Massachusetts Institute for Technology professor dubbed this “inattentional blindness” and conducted experiments that showed our mind’s eye controls our vision, sometimes causing us to miss seeing things in plain sight.

Neuroscientists and psychologists say we cannot absorb every stimulus, which would be overwhelming. So, we take in the priorities and fill-in with expectations.

How to combat attentional blindness on the road

Fleet Owner suggests the following ways to stay alert to what your eyes may miss while driving:

  • Maximize your attention: Eliminate distractions unrelated to safety – in other words, put that phone away. Then realize that safety-related technology itself can distract. That navigation system, the lane departure warning, and the automatic cruise control are all there to supplement your safe driving, not to replace it. You are still the pilot.
  • Drive for others: You are the professional. Pay attention to what others may not notice so that you are not caught up in their own attentional blindness. Use signals to alert, and awaken, others. Watch for distracted drivers. Leave space in anticipation of the unexpected from the non-professional driver.
  • Take cues from your surroundings: Road signs often warn of potential hazards – “Children At Play,” “Blind Pedestrian Xing” – bringing those possibilities into our range of expectations. Surroundings themselves can offer cues of what may occur. Forested rural roads mean deer – with or without the warning sign. Agricultural areas mean animals or farm tractors. City lights ahead signal the increased possibility of people wearing earbuds and looking at their smartphones while crossing the street. Re-focus with each change in your surroundings.

Injured by a big rig? Contact us.

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a truck while traveling the roads in West Virginia, contact the experts at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLCC today for a free consultation.

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Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
602 Virginia St E #200
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-720-1000