The concept of Daylight Saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin. It was inspired when he woke up one day at 6am and saw light coming in through his window. He considered that if he had slept until noon, like he and the rest of Paris normally would, he would have slept through 6 hours of daylight and in turn been awake for 6 hours through the night by candle light. The latter was much more expensive so, in the spirit of economy, he thought up the novel idea of daylight saving and how it could save Parisians a great deal of money!
The idea of daylight saving was more seriously advocated by a London, England builder named William Willett in 1907. He “proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and retarding them by the same amount on four Sundays in September.”1
What are the dangers of Daylight Saving Time?
Although there are some benefits to Daylight Saving Time, there are also some serious dangers that seem to be related to it. One of the biggest concerns is traffic accidents seem to increase in the evening when it is dark out. Time Magazine reported that “adding an hour of sunlight in the evening year-round would save the lives of more than 170 pedestrians annually, according to a 2004 study in Accident Analysis and Prevention.” 2
This statistic is corroborated by “a 2001 study by researchers at the University of Michigan, which found that 65 pedestrians were killed by car crashes in the week before DST ended, and 227 pedestrians were killed in the week following the end of DST.”2 Because of this, some people advocate that we should observe Daylight Saving Time all year round because providing more light in the evening, aside from a safety perspective, can be environmentally friendly and help spur the economy.
The statistic provided by the University of Michigan shows the stark contrast between how taking or giving an hour of evening light can affect traffic accidents. Some people would argue that the hour taken from the morning would also result in more traffic accidents at that time, however, this is less likely as there are less pedestrians in the morning and more people are out and about in the evening.
Should Daylight Saving Time be all year round?
That would mean that in the fall we don’t “fall back”. We would have the wonderful long days of sun from 6am to 9pm in the summer. Currently, in the winter we go back an hour so we have brighter mornings for the commute but then we start to have dusk at 5pm. If we observed Daylight Saving Time throughout the winter we would have darkness until 9am and we would leave work with some daylight left in the evening after our commute.
Alternatively, if we did not “spring forward” in the spring then the sun would rise at 5am and set at 8pm, which would limit the amount of sunlight we were able to enjoy since there are more people out after 8pm than there are before 6am. In terms of energy saving, if people typically return home around dark, then there would be an extra hour of people being inside using electricity. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy did a study to find if there were any significant energy savings seen from the Extended Daylight Saving Time, when Daylight Saving Time was moved from April to March. They found, “the national average reduction in daily electricity consumption in the spring EDST period was 0.50 percent.”3 0.50 percent might not seem like a very significant amount, however, that percentage equals the yearly electricity usage of 100,000 households.
What can we do to prevent the dangers?
People that need to be extra careful during a Daylight Saving Time shift are the people that only sleep four or five hours. However, everyone should take the proper precautions during the Daylight Saving Time shift and try to go to bed earlier in the spring and later in the fall. This will help keep their sleep cycle as regular as possible. It is also a good idea to be hyper vigilant while you are commuting during the week following the time shift.
This years’ time shift can be a safe one if you take the proper precautions and are alert while driving. Let us know whether you think we should observe the time shift and if you don’t think we should, tell us whether you think we should have year-round Daylight Saving Time or our regular Eastern Time.
1”Rationale and Original Idea.” Daylight Saving Time. Nov 2, 2017. Web.
2”How Daylight Saving Time Can Be Dangerous.” Time. Oct 31, 2014. Web.
3”Impact of Extended Daylight Saving Time on National Energy Consumption.” U.S. Department of Energy. October 2008. Web.