The Craze with Driving Around

Why do so many teenagers spend their free time driving around?


Kaylee Tigner

Kaylee Tigner with friends driving around listening to music last summer

Natalie Thomas, Staff Writer

Ask any teenager what they do with their free time, and they would respond with, “I like to drive around,” something that most adults don’t understand. They question why teenagers would want to waste their gas on driving with no purpose.


Most teenagers cannot wait to be able to drive, but here in Iowa, the excitement is an all-time high with kids being able to get a permit at the age of fourteen. By the time they are sixteen, they have the ability to drive to anywhere, but they still choose to just drive around town with friends, so what’s the point? 


Due to its location, students from Dowling come from all over the Des Moines metro and beyond, and with limited options for entertainment, the most promising one seems to be always driving around listening to music with your friends. In 2021, I can guarantee that most teenage girls are singing Olivia Rodrigo’s new song “Driver’s License” at the top of their lungs every time they go for a drive. Eleanor Meek (11) says music is what makes driving around so fun.


Juniors, Eleanor Meek and Olivia Spracklin drove around eating ice cream last December (Eleanor Meek)

“We normally have the same person on aux, and we love to listen to throwbacks,” Meek said. “We also love to listen to new songs, recently we’ve been listening to Olivia’s Rodrigo’s new song, just like everyone else.” 


Friends plus great new music makes for a pretty good hangout. Add the excuse for getting food from their favorite drive thru, teenagers would never not want to do this. 



“My friends and I spend weekends driving around listening to music and getting food from different drive-thru’s,” Meek said. “It’s always so fun and it gets us away from our house.” 


It’s also something that you can do yourself. Many teenagers see it as a form of “free therapy.” Kalyee Tigner (11) sees it as an opportunity to get away from her busy life and clear her head. Whether that’s driving to the nearest Dunkin’ or cruising through the streets of Downtown Des Moines, it’s a way for her to escape. 


“Whenever I want I am able to go for a drive to clear my head and detox from the world,” Tigner said.  


Whether they’re with their best friends jamming out to music or by themselves clearing their head, driving around will always be a favorite activity for teenagers.