Does anyone else remember playing this game as a child? I sure do.

Padiddle is a game played on long car rides, particularly when going on vacation or such. But it can be played on short rides into town as well.

When I used to play the game was played as follows; someone in the car spots an oncoming car with one headlight on and one off. The first person to yell, "Padiddle!" and touch the ceiling scored a point. We'd usually see how many we could get in total, but sometimes the 'winner' was whoever got 5 or 10 oints first.

I hadn't heard the term since my high school years, then this past week my car headlight blew. The next day I heard a woman on the radio talking about 'padiddles' and she had never heard the term. While camping this weekend, I was asked by the manager if I knew my car had a 'padiddle'. That's 2 references and my own car in one week. It was a sign!

According to Wikipedia, it's most popular/common on the East Coast, specifically New York and New Jersey. Makes sense to me, I grew up in NY! Apparently the rules change based on where in the country you play the game.

Here's a few of the most common rules;

Rules may include:

  1. Only headlights count. No tail lights.
  2. If the driver sees a Padiddle in the rear window, he can call it, while passengers can't. This is known as the "driver's handicap", as they have to pay attention to driving.
  3. If someone is seen driving with their indicator still on, that counts as a Padiddle.
  4. Calling a false Padiddle will incur a penalty of one point, item of clothing, etc (for aggressive games, players lose all points).
  5. If a Padiddle is called which no one else can see (eg. through a median, fence or trees), then it can be challenged within 3 seconds for dismissal. If no one challenges it, then it counts.
  6. If there is a tie at the end of the night, the rule states, that the driver, if involved, always wins. Like in blackjack, dealer always wins. Driver reserves the right to throw anyone out of the car.
  7. If you find special vehicles with one light out, (emergency vehicles, semi traliers etc), they are special and double the reward.
  8. An additional rule to Padiddle (not noted above), is that if somebody in the car sees a car with no headlights then that person shouts 'suicide' and hits the roof. the last person to shout suicide and hit the roof must remove all articles of clothing.
  9. If one doesn't want to follow the rules, they can ask to owe a certain amount of 'padiddles' or 'suicides' next time the game is played
  10. 'Permanant' Padiddles are padiddles that occur when the vehicle has been crashed at the headlight, rendering the headlight house unable to hold a replacement headlight. These padiddles can be called during daylight hours.
  11. Players may modify the word "padiddle" using the type of vehicle in question, ie. "bus-diddle" or "truck-diddle". This is only to occur with rare vehicles and must never be used for "car-diddles".
Do you remember any other childhood car games? I'll add a couple others that I remembered this week as I was traveling down "Padiddle" memory lane!

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  1. We used to play that game but we called it "popeye".

  2. Ha ha! I figured there must be other names for the same game!

  3. We also used to play Pudunkle...same exact concept, but it was for a tail light that was out....

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