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A typical padiddle

Padiddle, alternatively spelled pediddle, perdiddle and kadiddle, is an American slang term for a vehicle with a burnt-out headlight or brake light. It is also the name of a night-time travel game involving spotting such vehicles.[1][2] Cars with only one illuminated tail light are called pidadle in some areas of the country.

Another version of Padiddle involves spotting a yellow car, such as a taxi or sports car, and responding the same way. An optional variation of the game involves calling out "Padunkle" upon spotting a car without any headlights turned on at night, doing this awards the spotter double points.


The word Padiddle originated in the 1950s in suburban Westchester County, New York. In the post World War II era, cruising was a common teenage dating activity, which gave rise to the game. The first occupant to spot a car with a burnt out headlight would point and shout, "Padiddle!". A boy making the discovery would kiss his date, a girl would punch her date on the arm as hard as she could. Qualifying vehicles must be visible through the windshield of the vehicle, "Padiddles" seen through a side or rear-view mirror only count for half a point each. A motorcycle misidentified as a Padiddle is a foul that awards the offender's partner a double hit or kiss.


The objective is to be the first to spot a qualifying vehicle. The spotter must say "Padiddle" to earn a sighting. In some groups, the spotter must simultaneously hit the ceiling of the car, and in others, punch or kiss another passenger. The person with the highest score at the end of the trip is the winner.

Within the Tri-State area, being the last member of the car to punch the ceiling results in the lose of one article of clothing. Following this style of play, the winner is the last person wearing clothes in the car.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Sullivan, Joanne (2008). I Don't Care If We're There Yet: The Backseat Boredom Buster. Illustrated by Susan McBride. Lark Books. p. 32. ISBN 9781579908485. 
  2. ^ Gladstone, Gary (December 31, 1969). "Padiddle Hunt". Loose Change Memoirs.