Is Daylight Savings Time Helping or Hurting?

Is Daylight Savings Time Helping or Hurting?

It is bright and sunny as I drive home from a long day at work today, but this weekend tradition will implore us to set the clocks back on Sunday, November 6th. This Monday, many of us will commute home in the dark.

Shifting out circadian rhythms, this bi-annual tradition shakes our schedules and casts our society into a collective of grogginess. On top of that, many are confused on what the benefits of this schedule are and if its something we should consider dropping.

Common belief is that DST is designed to help farmers, but their plows will follow the sun no matter what time it is. The belief that this tradition helps farmers, shared by lawmakers in debates on whether to ditch DST.

Changing the clocks can not create extra daylight. The purpose is to conform daylight to people’s average schedules to optimize the amount of sunlight in their day. The problem is that this enforces schedule shift causes those with set schedules to wake up an hour earlier than normal. Flooding the roads with traffic operated by those whom lack an hour of sleep.

Will it Save Energy?

It was first imagined to conserve energy by changing the time to conserve candles. Benjamin Franklin noticed that people who were sleeping past sunrise tended to waste more candles as they would stay up later into the night. He suggested alarming everyone awake at sunrise by firing cannons and fining people who had closed window shutters in the morning blocking sunlight.

To this day there are many initiatives in our laws pushing DST as a way of energy conservation. However, research shows that DST actually increases our energy consumption. Apparently, DST tends to line up our schedules to hotter parts of the day and causes an increase in air conditioning use. However, some studies show that although it doesn’t reduce energy usage, it does spread out peak hours of consumption and reduces the cost of providing power.

What Other Benefits?

Another argument is that DST increases the amount of time we have for daylight recreational activities and therefore decreases crime rates. However, recreational time is a matter of preference and the a study shows there are fewer muggings during DST simply because less people are out after dark, thus fewer potential victims.

To sum it all up the benefits of DST on our society and the duration of the benefits are extremely vague and volatile. Benefits usually only lasting a few days as people adjust to the time difference.

During the spring forward change in March, where we lose an hour, studies show there is an increase in traffic accidents, work injuries and performance. This is caused by a collective sleep deprivation and is unavoidable if we continue shifting backwards in November.

Conclusion

While daylight savings time has a few temporary benefits the drawbacks outweigh them by a significant margin. However, awareness of this problem is spreading and many states are voting on changing to a standard time. States like Arizona and Indiana are already ahead of the curve as they do not follow this unnecessary tradition.

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