Should we change the road signs to metric and get rid of the imperial units?

(18 Posts)
solidfoundation Mon 28-Jan-13 18:45:33

Just a thought - if we changed the road signs completely to metric, would it help our children's maths and science as what they see on the signs would give them practice in what they learn at school. As things are at the moment, there is no relationship. For example, road signs use miles, but OS maps use kilometers. Unless you have a cycle with a metric odometer, it is virtually impossible in this country to measure a kilometer, so on journeys in a car it is extremely difficult to plan using an OS map.

What do you think?

exoticfruits Mon 28-Jan-13 19:20:14

Just too expensive.

NulliusInBlurba Mon 28-Jan-13 19:22:37

Why don't you go for the Irish approach - change over to km on new signs, but keep the miles on the old signs. And this is the really fun bit: don't tell motorists which unit is used on each sign! Makes driving so much more entertaining.

SafetyBubble Mon 28-Jan-13 19:43:04

Good thought - but I suspect our kids will just need to adapt to the fact that we live in a mad world. My school year (in the 1960s) was the very first where we used the MKS (Metre / Kilogramme / Second) system of measurement in all science subjects. It made science easier and engineering potentially safer.

But 40-odd years on, we still have pounds and kg, gallons and litres in common use. And curved bananas!

The old units still have a lot of merit for approximate use: e.g. I tell my driving pupils to keep a clearance from parked cars of at least one foot for every 10 mph. The advantage of feet is that most adults carry this unit of measurement around on the end of their legs.

You may not know that motorways are marked out in km: the marker posts along the edge are 100 metres apart.

Rough conversion units: 1 mile = 1.6km or 1600 metres. 1 kg = 2.2 pounds.
1 gallon = 4.54659 (I think) litres. For many practical purposes 1 metre = 1 yard

The biggest marvel to me is that in the USA they use feet and pounds in their engineering; how they ever manage to get a skyscraper to stand up or a jumbo-jet to fly completely eludes me.

OS maps : use a piece of string then measure it off on the scale.

And the decider : would you prefer a 6ft male or a 182.8 cm one?

My verdict: life will never be simple; but mixed units help to make it fun!

alanyoung Mon 28-Jan-13 20:58:17

Being male, I'd prefer a 1.5 metre girl!

learnandsay Mon 28-Jan-13 21:04:30

You have to be careful about teachers preferring girls these days, Alan. I know it's a pun and a joke. But that kind of humour isn't funny in this day and age.

lougle Mon 28-Jan-13 22:41:50

Ahhh alanyoung...there you are. Do you have a claxon which goes off when the subject of metrication comes up? grin

steppemum Mon 28-Jan-13 22:46:39

yes change them. We have been teaching it in school for 40 years, about time we started using it!

steppemum Mon 28-Jan-13 22:52:23

I actually have no idea how tall my dcs are in feet and inches, or how heavy in stones and pounds.
I get really irritated when these things are only given in imperial. eg kids soft play you must be under 4'9'' I have no idea how tall ds is in imperial. Every time he is measured at hv or doctor it is in imperial. I don't bother to ask for imperial as I understand metric.

Use both or use metric

(dons hat pours wine and sits back)

ps, disclaimer, dh is dutch so he doesn't understand imperial, so I ahve been well trained!!

Eglantyne Mon 28-Jan-13 23:00:53

We were visiting a SeaLife place at the weekend, and all the info boards had the fish etc described in inches. Very annoying, ds kept asking for conversions, but I was schooled in metric too! So are the signs aimed at Americans and the over 45 only?!

alanyoung Tue 29-Jan-13 08:08:32

Lougle: Yes

Steppemum: Well done. I have no idea how much I weigh in stones and pounds either. I was visiting a friend in hospital the other day in the baby ward and there was a set of weighing scales for the babies. I pressed the ON button and guess what - they came up with the metric scale! How long do our very busy nurses spend converting these to imperial units for parents? Complete waste of time.

Eglantyne: Very annoying indeed and you see this all over the place. But the cross over point is not 45. I'm 65 and have been taught both sets of units since I was eleven in 1958! Don't let the over 45's tell you they never did metric.

Dolallytats Tue 29-Jan-13 08:38:15

Oh, please don't change. I can only do feet and inches and stones and pounds. I have no idea if there are kg or km involved!! blush

RingoBaa Tue 29-Jan-13 08:41:30

I live abroad so all the signs are in km. it doesn't bother me but its not just the signs they would have to change its all the car speedometers as well. I prefer metric.

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 09:05:25

actually just noticed I posted backwards :

at doctors they are measured in METRIC and I don't bother to ask for conversion!

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 09:06:58

dolallytats - I am happy to have both, but hate the imperial only

TheWave Tue 29-Jan-13 09:09:12

Change it all so that we are forced to see it and get used to it. I grew up with metric and am over 40. I don't think there are any probs with using cm for height, or g for cooking if we consistently did this for the next generation instead of a bit of this a bit of that. I thought speedometers all had both anyway. Would get us used to seeing and using decimal places better.

What about dividing the day into, say 10 "hours" tho in the future? I reckon maybe it could come. Then each hour into 100 units etc. More logical?

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 09:40:03

ok, with time I am definitely imperial!!

alanyoung Tue 29-Jan-13 19:12:30

The time of day cannot be metricated because the only metric unit of time is the second. Smaller times are the millisecond, microsecond etc, but there are no minutes, hours etc in the metric system. Changing the time to 10 hours in a day has been investigated, but the reason (or at least one of the reasons) is that 24 has a lot more factors than 10, so the day can be divided into halves, thirds, quarters, sixths etc. The same is true of 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour (and 360 degrees in a complete rotation, come to that).
There was a time some years ago when someone introduced the 'grad', an attempt at a metric degree. There were to be 400 grads in a complete revolution, making a right angle 100 degrees and you can still sometimes see these on older scientific calculators. As far as I know this idea has now been abandoned.

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