Thread: What units?
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Old July 22nd 15, 03:57 PM posted to
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Default What units?

"MartinR" wrote in message
I never understood why the UK went for a half-arsed system of metricating
everything except distances. If OZ, NZ Canada and Ireland can do it why
not the UK. I understand that road signs would need changing and that
costs money but it will need to happen at some point as the UK population
adapts to metric units, so why delay?

When I went over to Ireland on business in the mid 90s, the distance signs
were in km but the speed limit signs were in mph. I was told by the guy that
I was visiting that this was because there were still a lot of cars on the
road which had speedometers calibrated in mph and the authorities didn't
want anyone to try to claim that they were keeping to a signed speed limit
of (for example) 80 km/hr but thought it meant 80 mph :-)

It was difficult having to apply a mental 5/8 conversion between km
distances on the signposts and the miles reading on the speedometer to judge
how far it was to the next town.

I have not-so-fond memories of the journey back from Wexford to Dublin: time
was running short for me to catch my flight home so my host offered to lead
the way in his car, with me following in the hire/pool car. And he shot off
like a bat out of hell, overtaking in all sorts of dangerous places where
I'd have held back, but I didn't know where I was going so I had to try to
follow as best as I could because he didn't wait for me to catch up.
Eventually he made an unplanned turning into a hotel car park, we dumped the
hire car there and did a rapid swap of my luggage into his car because he
thought it would be quicker in his car without me having to follow through
Dublin's rush-hour traffic. It must have looked like a scene from a
Crimewatch reconstruction (or The Sweeney) where the bank robbers move their
loot from one car to another one :-)