Joel Schneeberger of Chicago is one of those commuters. In recognition of National Stress Awareness Day on Tuesday, April 17, Dodge launched the "Avenge Your Commute" campaign, inviting frustrated commuters to write a 250-word essay answering the questions - "What makes your commute so stressful?" and "How would owning an all-new 2008 Dodge Avenger relieve your stress?" The 27- year-old's essay about his daily commute to work with his mother-in-law was chosen as the worst commuting story from more than 1,600 entries received from around the country. For his winning essay, Schneeberger was awarded a trip to Los Angeles, a chance to avenge his commute and a Dodge Avenger.
All entrants were asked to register at:
In addition to the essay contest, Dodge partnered with Dr. Martha Beck, internationally-recognized life coach, to help commuters minimize the stress caused by the daily commute.
"When things are out of our control, such as congested, standstill traffic, our immediate reaction is to stress out. Some commuters even become more aggressive on the road when faced with a stressful situation," said Dr. Beck, a best-selling author and columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine. "To help everyone de-stress and avoid accidents on the road, there are simple techniques commuters can do while behind the wheel, but the first step is to channel your stress into positive thoughts and take deep breaths."
"Avenging his Commute"
To avenge his commute, Dodge set up a safe environment - near Los Angeles' I-101 morning rush hour traffic - for Schneeberger to relieve his commuter stress in a fun, therapeutic way. From throwing balloons full of mud and firing a paint gun to lunging shopping carts and running over the vehicle in a Monster Truck, Schneeberger had his chance to blow off some commuter steam.
"I got such a rush when I received the phone call telling me that my essay was selected, but the greatest part was having the chance to vent my frustrations and demolish a vehicle, knowing I was going to get an all-new 2008 Dodge Avenger," said Schneeberger. "I can honestly say I will never think about my commute the same way again, especially since I'll be doing it by myself from behind the wheel of this cool new car."
Tips to Keep the Commuter Stress Away
Dodge and Dr. Beck offer simple tips to alleviate the stress that comes with battling bumper-to-bumper traffic, including:
-- Diminish the pains in your neck, back and head - Neck pains, headaches and backaches are common results of holding muscle tension while sitting in the driver's seat. Ease these symptoms by doing small-scale "hold and release" exercises with different muscle groups.
-- Press your head back against the headrest until your neck muscles are tight. Hold for a count of three, and then relax. Repeat 10 times.
-- Push your shoulders down and back, so that your shoulder blades push against the seat. Hold and release 10 times.
-- Learn to chill out - Stay hydrated. Dehydration causes irritability and fatigue before you actually sense thirst, so sip a chilled beverage before you're feeling parched. With the Dodge Avenger's ChillZone(TM), a chilled beverage storage bin that is standard on all models, commuters can keep as many as four 12-oz. beverage cans on hand at all times. Once they have their beverage of choice, they can keep it cold -- or hot -- in the 2008 Dodge Avenger's heated/cooled front cup holder. No reason for commuters to ever be thirsty again.
-- Take a breath of fresh and cold air - Blast cool air into your face from the air conditioner or roll down the window and breathe in fresh air. Your body loves the coolness and the oxygen.
-- Jam in traffic - Plug in your MP3 player or find your favorite radio station. The 2008 Dodge Avenger is MP3 compatible, so you can "jam" to your personal play list. Or with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, available on Dodge Avenger, listen to your favorites without commercials. Sing along by not just humming, but pulling in large breaths and supporting your voice with your diaphragm. The music and the deep breathing are both terrific stress-busters
-- Choose a lane and stay in it - Changing lanes frequently will only get you to your final destination a few seconds earlier and increases your chances of colliding with another car. The 2008 Dodge Avenger can help you avoid bumper-to-bumper commutes. Available through SIRIUS Satellite Radio, the Avenger's available MyGIG(TM) multimedia system with navigation can provide alternate routes based on real-time traffic patterns.
"We understand that commuting can be stressful, but also know that commuting is apart of our everyday lives and isn't going to go away," said Tom Loveless, Director - Dodge Brand Marketing and Global Communications. "This is why we design vehicles, such as the 2008 Dodge Avenger, that will make the commute more enjoyable. With new features like the Chill Zone(TM), MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment Radio and heated/cooled cup holder, consumers should feel right at home in their ride to and from work."
The Facts of Commuting
While everyone has their own opinion on what makes a commute stressful and the best way to pass the time while commuting, the Dodge brand surveyed Americans to hear what they had to say.
-- Fifty-three percent of stressed male commuters said they find their evening commute more stressful, while 52 percent of stressed women find their morning commute more stressful
-- Sixty-percent of commuters are guilty of talking on the cell phone while driving, while 37 percent said they are guilty of having a lead foot and 26 percent admitted to not using a turn signal
-- Other drivers talking on the cell phone (25 percent) is the trait that frustrates commuters the most, followed by driving slowly in the left lane (21 percent) and darting from lane to lane (17 percent)
About the Dodge Brand
With a U.S. market share of 6 percent, Dodge is the Chrysler Group's best- selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2006, Dodge sold than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market. Dodge continues to lead the minivan market with a 20 percent market share in the U.S. In the highly competitive truck market, Dodge has a 15 percent market share. Dodge is also entering key European volume segments with Nitro and Caliber.
About the 2008 Dodge Avenger
The all-new 2008 Dodge Avenger is an all-new mid-size sedan that combines bold, aggressive Dodge styling with innovative interior features, high-levels of safety and reliability, exhilarating performance and excellent fuel efficiency of 30 miles per gallon (mpg) (32 mpg based on 2007 EPA fuel economy standards). Among the 2008 Dodge Avenger's standard features that would make any commuter safer and more comfortable are side-curtain and front-seat-mounted side air bags, Chill Zone(TM), theft alarm and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
The 2008 Dodge Avenger has a starting MSRP of $18,895, including destination.
Source: Chrysler Group