Most people in the U.S. and Canada will ‘Spring Forward’ for Daylight-Saving Time on March 9. However, the debate lingers: Does daylight-saving time help or hinder?
By Gregory Pings, manager of content marketing for Xerox
Notwithstanding the wandering border of the polar vortex and worst-case groundhog scenarios, let’s talk about Spring.
Daylight-saving time is as sure a harbinger of Spring as the sighting of the first Robin, or the first time your nose picks up the fecund scent of earthworms after a refreshing rainfall.
For most people in the U.S. and Canada, the annual ritual of advancing the clocks takes effect on Sunday, March 9 at 2 a.m. (Spring ahead, as the mnemonic goes.)
However, people do things differently in Europe. For starters, they call it Summer Time; in addition, their clocks will advance on March 30 at 1 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time. This means that people will have an extra hour to conduct business with folks on the other side of The Pond for two entire weeks. (Time is precious, folks. Use it well.)
But that’s not the only benefit. The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that daylight-saving time reduces crime, saves energy, as well as saves lives and reduces traffic injuries.
The Case Against
Not everyone agrees, as this article in National Geographic explains. While the demand for lighting does drop as a result of daylight saving time, the use of air conditioning increases because of the heat produced by the evening’s extra hour.
The article also notes Martin Young’s 2012 study he conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Martin found that the risk of heart attack increases by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday that follow the ‘Spring Ahead’ ritual. Exactly why this happens is not known, but this UAB News article discusses some of Martin’s theories, and advances a few suggestions.
Meanwhile, South of the Equator
For those who live south of the equator, daylight-saving time will soon end – if it hasn’t already. Australia and Namibia will ‘Fall Back’ on April 6. Chile’s date is April 27; Easter Island is set for March 8: Paraguay on April 13; Uruguay on March 9. Brazil returned to standard time on February 14.
Can’t keep track? Neither can I, but I found that TimeTemperature.com offers a handy look up tool.
Are the bi-annual Spring Forward, Fall Back rituals worth the effort? Let the debate continue.