How to Convert Meters per Second to Miles per Hour

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  • 0:03 Converting Meters Per…
  • 1:27 Solution
  • 1:51 Finding a Conversion…
  • 5:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Gerald Lemay

Gerald has taught engineering, math and science and has a doctorate in electrical engineering.

Both meters per second and miles per hour are valid units for speed and velocity. In this lesson, you will learn a quick way to convert from one unit to the other. We'll also see how we can make this conversion more accurate.

Converting Meters per Second to Miles per Hour

To convert a speed in meters per second to a number of miles per hour, we use:

  • 1 meter per second = 2.2369 miles per hour, accurate to 5 significant figures

Let's do an example to outline the steps used in the conversion:

The average walking speed of an adult is 1.34 meters per second. What is this speed in miles per hour?

Step 1:

Multiply the given value with the conversion factor. We know the conversion factor is 2.2369. Therefore:

  • 1.34(2.2369) = 2.997446

Step 2:

Determine the number of significant figures:

  • The number 1.34 has 3 significant figures
  • The number 2.2369 has 5 significant figures

Step 3:

Round the answer to the lesser number of significant figures. Since the lesser number of significant figures is 3, we round the answer to 3 significant figures:

  • 2.997446 rounds to 3.00 when we keep 3 significant figures

Thus, 1.34 meters per second converts to 3.00 miles per hour.


Another way to say how to convert x meters per second to miles per hour is to multiply x by 2.2369 and then round to the number of significant figures in x. This solution will work for most of the cases you encounter. Of course, if x has more than 5 significant figures, we will need a more accurate conversion factor.

Finding a Conversion Factor with More Significant Figures

The conversion factor, 2.2369, has 5 significant figures and works very well when the speed to be converted is a number of meters per second with 5 or less significant figures. We will now show where the number, 2.2369, comes from and how to extend it to have more significant figures.

Speed is a measure of distance and time. We can develop our ability to do unit conversions, by looking at time and distance separately.

First, time. There are 3600 seconds in 1 hour:


Second, distance. The following conversion factors are completely accurate:

  • 5280.00 feet = 1.00 mile
  • 12.00… inches = 1.00 foot
  • 2.5400… cm = 1.00 inch
  • 100.00… cm = 1.00 m
  • 1000.00… m = 1.00 km

Combining these conversion factors so the units cancel:


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