The up and down of the DOW have nothing to do with volatility. The VIX is a measure of the expectation for change in the next 30 days. And that is determined by analyzing options prices. A VIX of 16.8 means that there is an expectation that the change will be less than 4.8% over the next 30 days (roughly). To me that is not low. A 4.8% drop in the DOW would be 725 points. But the number says nothing of direction, it could also be upward.