Nine in 10 motorists admit that they have sought solace during the COVID-19 pandemic by going out for a drive.
Research by SEAT reveals that, as the pandemic continues to impact the nation’s mental health, 59% of UK adults have temporarily left their house in order to support their wellbeing.
SEAT has partnered with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to pilot a mental health ‘SOS’ feature in its cars – a QR code applied to the vanity mirror of new vehicles which takes users to a specially designed page on CALM’s website.
While 90% of those surveyed said they had driven their car to clear their head at some point during a tumultuous 2020, nearly half (46%) admitted they did so on a weekly basis.
A further 60% of respondents said that being able to drive their cars during the pandemic (within government guidelines) had positively impacted their mental health. More women (64%) than men (54%) have found solace in driving their cars during the pandemic.
Three quarters (76%) of younger drivers (18-24) felt their car had been a positive influence on their mental health during the pandemic, the most of any age group, while this was the case for just half of over 55s.
Drivers in London (59%) were most likely to get behind the wheel to support their mental health and stay positive on a weekly or daily basis, whereas drivers in Yorkshire and the Humber were least likely to do so (39%).
Richard Harrison, managing director of SEAT UK, said: “With our longstanding mental health partner, CALM, we wanted to play a small part in helping people to quickly access support when they need it. The new ’SOS’ feature should make it that little bit easier to have someone to talk to, especially because so many people see the car as a place of refuge. It is definitely a case of ‘being silent isn’t being strong’, so we encourage people to speak to their friends and family or seek professional advice.”