Spring Forward (O The Humanity!)

  • Print

The history of Daylight Saving Time

 

Spring Forward last year was like being jet lagged and beaten with baseball bats so this year we are going to bed 15 minutes earlier each day and getting up a little earlier too. It' s not too late to do the same. In any case, whether you ease into it or tough it out, be gentle with yourselves next week.

In the meantime Rachel Maurer rounded up these important bits of trivia from Web Exhibits when the clocks went back. Here they are again.

When we change our clocks

Beginning in 2007, most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.

 

Spring forward, Fall back

During DST, clocks are turned forward an hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

 

Spelling and grammar

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time. Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time.

Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time. Similar examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ball game,rather than as a savings account. Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') flows more mellifluously off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, but it is not as politically desirable.

 

When in the morning?

In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. In the EU, clocks change at 1:00 a.m.

 

UniversalTime

In spring, clocks spring forward from 12:59 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because it was practical and minimized disruption. Most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing. It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers are affected.

 

Some U.S. areas

For the U.S. and its territories, Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona. The Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, even in Arizona, due to its large size and location in three states.

 

A safety reminder

Many fire departments encourage people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks because Daylight Saving Time provides a convenient reminder. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.