Once again, the time has rolled around to wind those clocks ahead one hour, or “Spring Forward”! Sunday, March 11th is the day you lose an hour of sleep, but there will be more light at the end of the day. (A little more time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th!) Here’s some information that we presented previously about the pro’s and con’s of Daylight Savings Time, plus an extra tip or two:
A study done by the National Sleep Foundation showed that immediately following the time change in the spring:
- 40% of adults were sleepy enough that it interfered with their daily activities,
- 62% drove while drowsy,
- 27% dozed off (if only for a few seconds) while driving,
- 18% experienced sleepiness at least a few days per week, and
- 32% know someone who had an accident by falling asleep at the wheel.
Those favoring Daylight Savings Time enjoy sporting activities after working hours, and retail businesses love it because it gives them the opportunity to remain open in order for folks to shop after work. Farmers who rise before dawn and depend on working by sunlight may not be as happy with Daylight Savings Time. During harvesting of grain, for example, they must wait until the dew evaporates, leaving less time for their helpers to do their job.
It was predicted that there would be a reduction in power usage with days having more sunlight, but it has been shown that power usage increased in the early morning hours, as people must get up for work in the dark to prepare for their day. Maybe it’s a Catch-22, because research has shown that traffic fatalities are reduced when there is more afternoon light; however, the early morning darkness brings more danger for workers commuting to work, and children walking to catch the school bus in the dark. This would be a good time to be sure your children are highly visible if they ride their bikes or catch a school bus, as there are all types of high-visibility decals that can be attached to their bikes or backpacks to ensure they will be seen. When the time changes again in November, statistics show an increase in evening traffic accidents immediately following the change.
Some of us take the change in stride, and never worry about the difference an hour makes. (After all, we get it back in the fall.) The main thing is that we adapt and be thankful we are able to carry on, and have the freedom to complain about things we don’t like, such as the time change. Stay safe, and make the most of that extra hour of sunshine!
P.S. Let’s not forget our friends in Japan, who suffered the earthquake and tsunami this time last year. They are still struggling to recover, and searches for those lost continue.