What signs with a percentage mean

When you are driving in some places, the roads will be up and down in terms of gradient, which refers to how the height of the road changes as you move along it, just like on a hill.

When you encounter steep ups and downs, you will usually see a sign to let you know about the road you are about to drive on.

This will be a triangular sign that has a red border: using your knowledge of driving theory you will know what sort of message this sign is going to be giving you.

But when you read the sign, how do you interpret it? Well, you will see that there will be a slope represented as a black triangle on it, and then a percentage above it: for instance it might say 20%.

This means that there is a 20 per cent gradient. You may also see a road sign that states this as 1:5. These two are equivalent. To work out the conversion if one means more sense to you than the other then you say 100 divided by what = 20, and you find it is 5: hence 20% is the same as 1:5.

But how do you then work out quite what this means? It simply says that for ever five feet you move forwards, the road drops (or rises one foot) which tells you that this is a fairly steep road on a hill.

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