WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

DST - 'Disputing Saving Time'?

Posted March 5, 2008
Updated March 6, 2008

Spring forward, fall back.

It's been engrained in our minds since childhood -- that is, so long as your childhood wasn't spent in Arizona, Hawai'i, or select parts of Indiana, of course.  In the spring, we set our clocks forward in hopes of "saving time" and -- supposedly -- saving energy.  That hour of sleep we lose in the spring is repaid in the fall, supposedly with the dividend of kilowatts and energy dollars saved.

And, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, we will spring forward right early this year -- this coming Sunday morning, in fact.  (You've been warned, lest you oversleep for church, brunch, or other Sunday morning activities!)

Generally, Ben Franklin is credited with suggesting the clock change.  According to Bob Aldrich's fantastic primer on the history of DST, Franklin made the suggestion back in 1784, while he was an ambassador to France.  It wasn't until the 1900s when it anyone really used DST -- the Brits picked it up in 1916, calling it "Summer Time".  We picked it up here stateside during the World War I, and it's been a part of American discourse ever since.

According to Aldrich, DST supporters say it saves energy (we don't have to turn on as many lights in the evening if it's still light out), prevents traffic accidents (by shifting the afternoon rush hour into daylight hours), and prevents crime (more daylight in the evening when folks are likely to be out and about).

But it's far from unanimous.  The folks at End Daylight Saving Time say that farmers have long opposed DST.  Their workday revolves around the sun, regardless of the clock.  Another recent article goes one further by suggesting that DST is doing a poor job of accomplishing it's original goal -- to save energy.

Personally, I hate losing that hour of sleep in the springtime, but I sure do love getting it back in the fall.  I also think that the time shift helps to get me in the mood for the upcoming season -- springing forward gives us "more daylight" in the evening, after work, while falling back encourages us back inside when things turn chilly.  That's just my $0.02 -- What do you think about DST?  Is it more annoyance than anything, or is it really helping out?  Or does it even matter?

Regardless, it's that time of year again, and while you may or may not like it (and I know of a scant few who really like losing that hour of sleep in the spring!) "Spring Forward" is coming.  So, set those clocks!



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  • appgrad95 Mar 10, 2008

    I agree with Suki, and have been saying that for years. Why don't we just split the difference by adding or subtracting 30 minutes one spring or fall and then never mess with it again?

  • GWALLY Mar 6, 2008

    hmmmmm.....why don't we just do away with clocks, period. I think we put way to much emphasis on the time of day. This way we will never be late, never miss an appointment, just get to work when we feel like it's time, we would eat when we are hungry, (weight loss, promotes a healthy lifestyle, now there's another reason)......I just see a whole lot of advantages and no disadvantages. I mean after all animals and other critters don't know how to tell time or wear a watch and they seem to get along just fine.

  • owlady Mar 6, 2008

    I say, just pick one, set it, and forget it. This changing the clocks every six months is for the birds! ;)

  • racinjunki Mar 6, 2008

    What ticks me off is the Duke/UNC game doesn't start until 9:00! No, wait, make that 10:00! So can't go to bed early to offset losing the hour. :-)

    DST will not start till 1 or 2 am on Sunday, so the game still starts at 9pm on our internal clocks. ;)

  • amandash1 Mar 6, 2008

    I love the daylight savings time - I don't really think it should start before April, though. Seems like March is a bit soon, but whatever works. I enjoy the time after work because I don't have to rush home and go to bed because it's dark - I can be outside, grill, enjoy the evening - have to watch it, though - time sneaks away from you at first - before you know it, it's 10 or 11 and you are wondering why you're so tired, and you realize - hey, it's really late! But other than getting "used to it," I like it - we need extra day light....I'm going to go to bed the same time regardless.

  • Armando de Cabana Boy Mar 6, 2008

    I don't know about the practicality of DST...BUT I LOVE THE EXTRA DAYLIGHT IN THE EVENINGS!!!

  • charlesboyer Mar 6, 2008

    I like DST because it allows for more outdoor activities after work. Like most folks, my workday ends at roughly the same time every day, but when we are in DST, we get an "extra" hour of light.

  • SailbadTheSinner Mar 6, 2008

    Sorry ‘bout that busybe97.

    The comment was not meant to be taken seriously. It’s probably MUCH too early for that type of humor ....

    I guess I’m just getting old and cynical ....


  • Garnerwolf1 Mar 6, 2008

    What ticks me off is the Duke/UNC game doesn't start until 9:00! No, wait, make that 10:00! So can't go to bed early to offset losing the hour. :-)

  • busyb97 Mar 6, 2008

    YOu aren't actually getting an hour of sunshine that you didn't have before...it just 'shifts'. Instead of the sun coming up at 6:30am and going down at 6:15pm, it will come up at 7:30am and go down at 7:15pm.

    I personally don't care...yes it's a pain that first day or two in the spring because you lose that sleep (assuming you have somewhere to be that Sunday morning). I think it's harder to adjust for smaller kids whose body clocks run no matter what time the bedside clock says it is. THAT makes it tough. :)