It’s that time again. Daylight saving time (DST) begins on March 12, 2023, at 2:00 a.m. That’s when you’ll “spring forward” and set your clocks ahead one hour. Yes, you’ll lose one precious hour of your life, but you’ll get it back on November 5, 2023. Are you ready to spring forward?
As a child, I was told that DST was created to help farmers. Here’s how the story went: Farmers needed to have an extra hour of daylight in the spring and summer months to get seeds planted, weeds disced, and machinery ready for harvest. To a farm girl like me, it seemed to make sense. I believed the story until just a few years ago. (How embarrassing!)
The true history of daylight saving time
Turns out, daylight saving time first originated with the hopes of saving energy. Canada first used DST in 1908, and Germany picked up on the idea during World War I, hoping the effort would save on coal consumption.
DST was implemented again in World War II and during the oil embargo in 1973. The extra hour of daylight meant people would not need to turn on electric lights so early in the evening, thus saving energy.
Planes, trains, buses, overland freight haulers, and even RVers rely on time standards. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation is charged with the task of overseeing time zones along with DST.
Daylight saving time is not federally mandated, however. Each U.S. state is allowed to decide for itself whether to adopt DST or remain on permanent standard time. Currently, Arizona and Hawaii, along with several U.S. territories, do not “spring forward” or “fall back.” They have opted out of daylight saving time.
Love it or hate it?
Like everything else, daylight savings time is a controversial topic. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
Pros of daylight saving time
- Longer evenings. Many folks like having the extra hour of daylight in the spring and summer. It allows them to enjoy outside activities after work. Health officials hope that DST encourages a more active lifestyle.
- Safety. Proponents of daylight saving time claim that it can save lives. This study highlights the effects of daylight and daylight saving time on U.S. pedestrian fatalities and motor vehicle occupant fatalities. Scientists concluded that DST reduces dawn and dusk pedestrian fatalities by 13%.
- Economic boost. Shoppers, sports enthusiasts, diners, and others use the extended daylight hours to participate in activities that help boost local economies.
Cons of daylight saving time
- No energy savings. In decades past, DST reduced energy consumption. Today, however, no significant savings occur.
- Circadian disruption. Most people experience mild fatigue following “spring forward” DST. Others, however, can experience more serious health consequences. Springtime DST changes may be to blame for the uptick in traffic accidents, depression, workplace injuries, heart attacks, and more.
- Cost. Productivity declines in the spring when DST causes people to “spring forward.” In the fall, larger cities in the U.S. see an uptick in early evening crimes following the “fall back” time change.
A real-time change?
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a bill abolishing daylight saving time. The bipartisan bill never made it to a vote in the House of Representatives.
DST and RVers
How does daylight saving time affect you as an RVer? I love that we can begin our RV trips a bit earlier in springtime mornings. Well, if we are heading west. It’s no fun driving when the daybreak sun glares off our windshield. Then, in the fall, when DST ends, we generally move up our dinner time in order to grill before dark. As I get older it seems harder to adjust to the time changes both in the spring and the fall. Maybe all the Arizona Snowbirds have it figured out! They skip the “spring forward” and “fall back” altogether.
So, where do you stand? Are you in favor of daylight saving time or not? Vote below then let us know how DST affects the way you RV in the comments. Thanks!