As we approach the time of year where we spring forward it is often with the anticipation of having additional hours of daylight – or at least it seems that way. We at Back in the Day would like to call your attention to several interesting things you might not know about what we call Daylight Savings.
Was this originally a joke?
It’s well documented that Benjamin Franklin was one of the first people to propose daylight saving time,
but it’s possible he wasn’t entirely serious since Franklin proposed the idea in a satirical essay where he wasn’t serious about most of what he wrote.
Why 2 AM?
So, why does daylight saving time happen at 2 a.m.? According to a reputable source Live Science it’s considered to be the least disruptive time of day — and it allows for moving forward the clocks without changing the date to “tomorrow” or “yesterday” when turning back in the Fall.
World War 1
The United States implemented daylight saving time during World War I. The goal: minimizing coal consumption. President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep the change permanently, but Congress repealed his plan, even overriding a Presidential veto. However, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 created a standardized system to observe daylight saving time.
Chaos of clocks
Starting with World War II, daylight saving time caused a “chaos of clocks,” according to one mid-century account by Time magazine. Until 1966, states and other governments could arbitrarily start and end day light saving time whenever they wanted. And at one point, it was possible to travel through seven time changes on a moderate train ride from Ohio to West Virginia. As was mentioned above, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 created a standardized system to observe daylight saving time – with uniform start dates and end dates, as well at the time of early morning to start daylight saving time (2:00 AM).
From World War II until fairly recently, the seven-month period of daylight saving time in the U.S. ran from early April until mid-October.
But in 2007, Congress adjusted daylight saving time to begin three weeks earlier and end one week later, a move they hoped would help save energy. And it did! The Department of Energy studied the energy savings in 2008 and found that during daylight saving time, U.S. electricity use decreased by 0.5 percent per day, which added up to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, enough to power about 122,000 average U.S. homes for a year.
You can drop the “s”
Let’s clear this up for good: It’s “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.” But that doesn’t stop people from routinely adding the extra letter. Bing searches turn up 45 million results for “daylight saving time” and 44.9 million results for “daylight savings time.”
The “Rebel” states
Only 48 U.S. states spring forward and fall back. Arizona and Hawaii both stick with standard time year-round. However, the Navajo Nation within Arizona observes daylight saving time. How crazy is that?
Aside from Arizona and Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands do not move their clocks forward or backward for Daylight Saving Time.
What about bars?
You might think bars would have to stay open an hour later when clocks fall backward in the Fall, but some states have a clever way of getting around that. The California Energy Commission notes bars are technically required to close at 1:59 a.m. Other states specify they close “two hours after midnight.”
Is time travel possible?
Thanks to coming off daylight saving time and falling backward an hour, an Ohio man was arrested twice at exactly the same time. Niles G. was arrested for drunk driving at 1:08 a.m. when a police officer spotted him driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Later that night, the same officer arrested him again after nearly backing his car into a police cruiser. The time? The clocks were turned back at 2 a.m., and the second arrest was also 1:08 a.m.
Running early and late just got easier
Even with clocks that reset automatically on phones and other devices, a 2014 study from Rasmussen Reports found that nearly 30 percent of Americans admit that the time changes (going forward or backward) have made them early or late.
Aside from Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands do not move their clocks forward.
Daylight Saving Time Helps Prevent Traffic Injuries and Reduces Crime
The extra hour of daylight has been credited for preventing traffic injuries and reducing crime as “people travel to and from school and work and complete errands during the daylight,” and “more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night, when more crime occurs,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Time Changes Can Impact Body
It’s just one hour but the time shift and stress caused by time changes can be bad for the body. Researchers in Sweden reported in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine that the number of heart attacks jumps during the period immediately following time changes, and that those vulnerable to sleep deprivation should be extra careful.
“More than 1.5 billion men and women are exposed to the transitions involved in daylight saving time: turning clocks forward by an hour in the spring and backward by an hour in the autumn,” wrote Imre Janszky and Rickard Ljung, health and welfare researchers in Sweden. “These transitions can disrupt chronobiologic rhythms and influence the duration and quality of sleep, and the effect lasts for several days after the shifts.”
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