Healthy Living

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time

Key Takeaways

  • The first implementation of this idea was on April 30, 1916, in Germany and Austria-Hungary.
  • DST is the advancing of clocks by an hour during the summer period so that the evening lasts longer at the cost of the time the sun rises.
  • The number of daylight hours usually vary depending on the country’s location.

DST is the advancing of clocks by an hour during the summer period so that the evening lasts longer at the cost of the time the sun rises. The clock is usually adjusted an hour before the start of spring and is adjusted back to the standard time during autumn.

Also known as "summer time" in places around the world, the daylight saving time solely aims at maximizing daylight use. During summer, we adjust our clocks by shifting an hour of morning daylight to the evening. Changes in dates depend on different countries. 

The daylight saving time enables people to enjoy evenings of summer by adjusting their clocks one hour forward during springtime.

Contrary to the belief that Benjamin Franklin was the brains behind the idea, William Willett, a British builder, and George Houston, from New Zealand, are the real deal. Yes, Franklin brought up the idea, but he hardly made a contribution toward the idea since it barely involved clocks.

The majority of US starts Daylight Saving Time at exactly 2:00 a.m. during the 2nd Sunday of March and goes back to the standard time during the 1st Sunday of November. Every time zone changes at different times in the United States.

Summer time starts and stops at 1:00 a.m. in the European Union. It starts at the last Sunday in the month of March and stops on the last Sunday of October. All the time zones switch at the same time in the European Union.

Grammar and spelling

Daylight saving time is the correct spelling and not the commonly known term, daylight savings time.

Here, "saving" has been used as a participle (verbal adjective). It refers to time modification and lets us know about its nature, which is defined by saving daylight activity. For this reason, it is correct to refer DST as daylight saving time. Examples of similar words are a man-eating tiger and mind-expanding book. The word "saving" in DST is similarly used as "saving a game" compared to a "savings account".

Many people, however, feel that the word "savings" flow smoothly when the term is pronounced. The term daylight savings time is commonly used and is available in the dictionary.

To add more confusion, it is inaccurate to say daylight saving time because there is actually no daylight being saved. It would be more accurate to use the term daylight shifting time or daylight time shifting, but neither of the two phrases is politically acceptable.

The origin of the daylight saving time

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested the idea of daylight saving through an essay, jokingly suggesting that candle usage can be economized by people using the natural light, which could only be achieved if people got up earlier in the morning. In 1895, the same daylight idea was proposed by George Houston of New Zealand.

The first implementation of this idea was on April 30, 1916, in Germany and Austria-Hungary. After its implementation, many countries adopted the idea, especially after the 1970s energy crisis.

Like other ideas, daylight saving time or DST has critics as well as advocates. The idea of DST was aimed at reducing incandescent light usage. However, at present, its effect on the use of energy remains contradictory and limited.

Daylight saving time starts at 2:00 a.m. in the US to reduce disruption. Many states, however, stop bars from selling alcohol from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. However, during the fall season, the 2:00 a.m. time goes back an hour.

The time for changeover in the US originally adopted the 2:00 am time since it reduced disruption and was practical. The majority of people were home and it was the time when there were no many trains running. The time is also late enough to affect restaurants and bars and also keeps off the day from going back to yesterday, which may cause confusion. The changeover normally takes place before the majority of early churchgoers and shift workers are affected.

Certain areas in the US

Daylight saving time is not practiced in the United States and some its territories such as American Samoa, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Arizona, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. However, the Navajo Nation practices the daylight saving time policy because of its size and area in three states.

Safety

Numerous fire departments highly encourage individuals to change their smoke detector batteries after making adjustments to their clocks since daylight saving time offers a useful reminder. A functional smoke detector gives an individual higher chances of survival in case there is a fire emergency. Approximately 90 percent of American homes have smoke detectors installed, although a third of them have missing or dead batteries.

Anecdotes and incidents

In the course of history, the daylight saving time has greatly influenced a variety of surprising areas such as feuding twin cities, terrorism from the Middle East, time-change riots, voter turnout, and radio stations.

Bombing prevented

The West Bank was on the daylight saving time in September 1999 while Israel had gone back to the standard time. Time bombs were prepared by West Bank terrorists and secretly hid them to their Israeli friends, who then misunderstood the bomb time. As they continued to plant the bombs, the bombs exploded an hour earlier that killed three terrorists rather than two buses carrying loads of people, which were the intended victims.

Halloween 

In 2006, the daylight saving time in the United States came to an end several days prior to Halloween. Pedestrian deaths in children were four times higher during Halloween compared to any other day of the year. There was a new law that took effect in 2007 to prolong the daylight saving time to the 1st Sunday of November to supply more light to trick-or-treaters and offer better safety measures to avoid traffic accidents. For many years, a number of candy manufacturers fought for an extension of the daylight saving time during Halloween since the majority of young trick-or-treaters is not usually allowed to be taken out after dark. Adding one hour of light translated to huge earnings for the candy makers.

Non-uniform DST chaos

From the 1950s to 1960s, there was widespread confusion when every location in the US started and ended the daylight saving time whenever they wanted to. In Iowa alone, there were 23 different DST beginning and end dates in one year. Precisely five weeks every year, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia were at different times with Cleveland, Baltimore, and Washington DC, although Chicago had the same time. Moreover, passengers on a bus route from Ohio to West Virginia were forced to adjust their watches seven times while on a 35-mile transit. These situations cost millions of dollars to a number of industries, particularly those that were in the communications and transport sectors. 

In Indiana

There had been a lot of controversy surrounding the daylight saving time in Indiana. In the past, the two western corners of the state, which are in the central time zone practiced DST, while the remaining part of the state in the Eastern time zone practices an all year round standard time. To add more complication, five counties in the South East close to Louisville and Cincinnati practiced unofficial DST to keep at par with other cities. Due to the constant fights on the daylight saving time, most politicians in Indiana approached the subject cautiously. In 2005, Indiana legislators passed a law for the implementation of DST all over the state starting in April 2006.

Conservation of oil

The United States Congress moved the time for daylight saving time to eight months from the usual six months due to the 1973 oil ban. The US Department of Transportation discovered that practicing daylight saving time during March and April would save energy equivalent to ten thousand oil barrels every day, which would be equivalent to 600,000 oil barrels of those two months each year.

In 1986, the daylight saving time was adjusted from the last Sunday of April to the first Sunday of the same month. There were no changes made to the ending date of the last Sunday of October. After adding the month of April to the daylight saving time, the US annually saved approximately 300,000 oil barrels.

At the start of 2007, daylight saving time began on the 2nd Sunday of March and ended on the 1st Sunday of November, which saved more oil.

Celebrating birthdays and births

In the case of twins who are born at a time difference of 11:55 p.m. and 12:05 a.m., their birth order could change because of the daylight saving time. At the time change during fall, a child could be born at around 12:55 a.m. with the other sibling at 1:05 a.m. During spring, a gap is created wherein no births occur--this is between 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Time stealing

Just like the United States, Great Britain also had a share of checkered history with the daylight saving time. During the early 20th century, the country’s citizens held protests because of the time change, wherein they used the slogan, "Give us back our stolen hour."

Crime with violence

According to a study done by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), there were lesser crimes reported at the time of daylight savings time compared with the normal standard time. According to the data, there was a drop in violent crimes by 13 percent. The reason behind this is that there is more crime with violence done during the dark. Thus, crime rates are reduced due to light extending in the evenings.

Rationale and the original idea

The number of daylight hours usually vary depending on the country’s location. Countries near the equator experience 12 hours of sunlight throughout the day, as opposed to countries in the North and South poles, and makes the daylight savings time of little or no use to countries in the tropics. These regions experience daylight hours according to seasons, with extra hours of daylight experienced during the summer than the winter season.

The United States Department of Transportation conducted a survey and found out that the daylight saving time is favorable among the citizens since they are in a position to perform more tasks. Sixty-eight percent of 2.7 million citizens in Australia and New South Wales liked the daylight saving time in a survey conducted in 1976. It is supported due to the fact that most people enjoy longer summer nights rather than rationalizing energy conservation.

Some sources show that DST saves energy that would have otherwise been used for the consumption of electricity. In 1975, another research was conducted by the US Department of Transportation, which showed that DST cuts small but significant electricity usage. Power consumption was also reduced by 3.5 percent in a survey conducted in New Zealand, where they observed DST use.

The 1975 rationale idea was adopted based on the belief that energy consumption was highest during the mornings and evenings when families gathered at home. By adjusting the clock an hour earlier, the electricity consumption decreased. Lighting and appliances accounted for 25 percent of the energy used. People who got up before sunrise used a lot of energy, as opposed to those who got up after the sun rose, especially when DST is not in use. Most Americans get up before 7:00 a.m.

The reduction of electricity consumption can also be explained in terms of people spending less time in their homes. Most make outdoor plans in an attempt to maximize the use of the extra hours added to them.

DST saves less energy in the winter as compared to the summer. The reason is that during the winter season, a lot of energy is required for heating and lighting. It has an hour or less advantage during fall and spring.

Studies conducted in Great Britain and the US show that DST decreases road accident by 1 percent. However, there is an increase in accident occurrences due to dark mornings.

Additionally, DST boosts the economy, since the more hours people are outside, the more likely they are to shop.