In a time when Americans are more stressed than ever, the desire to find serenity and calm amongst the chaos is on the rise, according to a new study from Volvo and Harris Poll. 75% of Americans are seeking more ways to find calm amid increasing stress - and are looking in surprising places to find it. In fact, more Americans find serenity on their daily drive (20%) than while doing yoga (14%).

"Stress levels are undoubtedly rising, and now more than ever, Americans are looking ways to rebalance and relax, particularly while driving," said Jim Nichols, Product & Technology Communications Manager for Volvo Car USA. "The daily commute is often the only 'me time' people get and Volvo has long believed it is best to maximize that time in a way that makes sense for drivers and passengers."

Volvo sought to better understand how commuting and traffic drive stress levels amongst Americans, and what factors might help drivers decompress and find their own personal sanctuary on the road. Many of those surveyed indicated they are turning to their vehicles as their sanctuary from the day's stress. A few additional highlights from the research include:
  • 94% of Americans believe serenity is important
  • 76% of working Americans have a stressful commute; 33% of them are searching for serenity during their daily commute
  • Stress is amplified as drivers' commutes lengthen, not just while driving, but also around juggling other life responsibilities
  • Americans are willing to sacrifice for a calmer commute
    • 1 in 4 would give up social media for a month (24%)
    • 1 in 5 would stretch their budget to buy a more relaxing vehicle (15%)
  • 84% say they feel more relaxed in their own vehicles compared to using mass transit
  • Top features that would help commuters relax in the car:
    • Comfortable seats (52%), Seats that optimize posture (40%), Better noise insulation (31%), Air filters that prevent smells/pollutants (27%), Automated safety features (26%), Better selection of music, podcasts and other audio (26%)
  • And it's not just drivers who are feeling the pain: 72% of passengers find the riding experience stressful.

You can find the the full report here , which dives deeper into America's "quest for calm" and how Americans are turning to their vehicles for serenity. Volvo, long a leader in human-centric design, offers a variety of meticulously crafted features that help provide a feeling of calm and relaxation for drivers - ranging from seats designed by orthopedic surgeons, to turn indicator sounds inspired by the snapping of birch twigs.

For more than 90 years, Volvo has embraced putting people at the center of everything the brand does as the core foundation for its business, products and design strategy. Volvo's design approach is heavily influenced by modern Scandinavian design, combining modernist sensibilities with traditional techniques for a look that is free from excess and uses natural materials in a bold, simple way. Volvo's 90 Series vehicles are developed to bring a luxury experience to drivers searching for their own personal Scandinavian Sanctuary.

Design features are meticulously crafted to provide a feeling of calm and relaxation on the road. Large windows and panoramic roofs help bring in natural light, harkening back to the company's Scandinavian heritage which desires open spaces. Warm, tactile materials create the sensation of being in a comfortable home. Helping drivers find serenity in their vehicle is also a driving force behind Volvo's longstanding innovation with ergonomically designed seats in every model, built on insights from orthopedic surgeons to help maximize comfort and safety.
The latest iteration of Volvo's human-centric design approach is found in the S90 Excellence Ambience Concept which synchronizes visuals, sounds and scents to provide a personalized atmosphere. The S90 Excellence is a three-seat model that maximizes legroom for a rear seat passenger with access to a tablet and other luxury features.

This report is the second in a series of Volvo Reports from Volvo Car USA and Harris Poll designed to uncover insights into the American opinion across four core themes: design, safety, technology and environment. These insights will be distilled into Volvo Reports featuring a different topic each month.