Have you ever heard somebody refer to the time between March and early November as daylight savings time? Actually, it is daylight saving time, without the “s” following “saving.” That, however, is not the only misunderstanding regarding DST. It really doesn’t provide us more daylight at all. It merely shifts that daylight from the morning to the evening. What is the origin of moving of clocks ahead in the Spring and back in the Fall? Why do we keep doing it and exactly when is daylight saving time?
Beginning and End: When is Daylight Saving Time?
The Origin of Time Zones and Daylight Saving Time
The origin of Daylight Saving Time = Daylight Saving Time Is Even Weirder Than You Think – National Geographic https://t.co/keViN9gExp
— Kevin @ #CES2018 #CES (@ORIGINPCCEO) November 5, 2017
Until the invention and expansion of the railroads in the late 1800’s, “standard” time zones didn’t exist. They became necessary to keep transportation schedules consistent. In 1883, the Continental United States was divided into four time zones, each one hour apart. There was, however, no such thing as daylight saving time until over three decades later when the German Empire adopted the plan to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe soon followed and the United States adopted DST in 1918.
Soon after World War I, daylight saving time was abandoned by all but a few countries including Canada, France, and England. It returned and became widespread during World War II, again, principally to save on resources. It again disappeared following the war. DST returned with the 1970’s energy crisis and it is still widely in use to this day.
While many perceive the purpose of daylight saving time is either to help farmers or improve recreational activities during the warmer weather months, the reality is the main purpose has been to save energy during critical periods throughout history. But, as you’ll see, there are those who dispute such savings.
When is Daylight Saving Time?
— MapsofWorld (@mapsofworld) January 10, 2018
Daylight saving time or “summer time” as it is known in Europe and many other countries generally last from sometime in March and last through late October or early November. In the United States, it begins at 2:00 am on the second Sunday in March and lasts through the 2:00 am of the first Sunday in November. Clocks “Spring forward” and “Fall back” based on their time zone in the United States. In Europe, all clocks move forward and back at 1:00 am Greenwich Mean Time. Summertime is slightly shorter than daylight saving time in the US, spanning from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October. In the United States, daylight saving time encompasses about 2/3rds of the entire year.
An oddity about daylight saving time in the US is that in the Spring, for an hour, adjacent time zones will be two hours apart. In the Fall, adjacent times zones can share the same time for an hour.
So, exactly when is daylight saving time? The answer is it depends on where you live.
Why Do We Continue to Observe Daylight Saving Time?
We continue to observe daylight saving time because proponents have been successful in selling the benefits of DST. These benefits, they claim, are continued energy savings, safer roads, more physical activity, increased shopping, benefits to the recreation industry and improved mental health. Opponents to daylight saving time claim any energy savings are disputable or minimal. They also claim DST increase health issues including heart attacks, is disruptive to the economy.
The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) own survey in 1975 determined that energy savings from DST were perhaps 1% in March and April, giving credence to proponents doubts regarding any real fuel savings.
Not Universally Observed in the United States
Unlike most states in the US, Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii. 🙂 pic.twitter.com/Sob78x3el5
— Day (@sudevika) March 10, 2013
Daylight saving time is still not universally observed, even throughout the United States and its territories. Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona do not change clocks for daylight saving time. The Navajo Nation in Arizona observes the practice, however, because it spans across three states.
DST can still be confusing to some. Check out this video from CGP Grey and learn more about Daylight Saving Time!
In recent decades, the changing of clocks for DST has also served as a safety reminder with homeowners asked to check and/or replace smoke detector batteries during the change. Some estimates suggest that while 90% of homes have smoke detectors, perhaps as high as one-third of them have non-working batteries.
Do you know other facts about Daylight Saving Time? Share it with us in the comments below!
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