Why do stop signs have eight sides?

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Do you know the name for the special 8-sided shape of a stop sign? The mathematical word is octagon!

In the U.S., all stop signs are bright red octagons – and for some good reasons! The only street sign that uses an 8-sided shape is the stop sign, which helps drivers from far away to quickly recognize this important sign. It also lets a driver in the other direction know which sign is facing you without being able to read the front of the sign… when someone sees an octagonal street sign, they know right away what it means!

Another reason why stop signs have eight sides is that in general, the more sides a street sign has, the more important its message is! Eight is about as many sides as you can squeeze onto one street sign, so it’s the designated shape of one of the most important signs: STOP! 

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Octo!

    Now that you know that an 8-sided shape is an octagon, think about some other things that start with the letters “octo” or “octa.” For example, think about the word “octopus”! 

    Is there anything an octagon and an octopus share in common?? If you said “the number 8,” you’d be right! (Eight sides on an octagon, and eight legs on an octopus!) This special prefix, octo or octa usually brings with it this meaning!

    Can you think of any other octo examples??   
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