© 2015, © 2015 Taylor & Francis. Distraction is typically thought to be detrimental to performance and concentration, and stimuli are classified as “distractions” if they take attention away from a primary task. However it has been shown that, under certain circumstances, distractors can also improve task performance. The current study extends this literature by exploring the role of a single discrete transient visual distracting event in increasing attention to an unexpected visual object in an inattentional blindness (IB) paradigm. Experiment 1 investigated the impact of a 48 ms visual distraction stimulus on rates of IB; a second experiment used a shortened, 16 ms visual distracting event. Both the long 48 ms and brief 16 ms distractors significantly reduced overall IB rates, by approximately 50% compared to a no distractor condition. Moreover, this reduction in IB is obtained independent of whether the visual distracting event was noted by the observer. Our findings demonstrate that a single discrete visual distraction can improve the detectability of an unexpected object in an IB task. Implications for theories of distributed attention in such tasks are discussed.