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Home / Blog / THE END OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME - WHAT IT MEANS FOR DRIVERS

The End of Daylight Saving Time - What It Means for Drivers

Category:real time gps tracker

smarketingNovember 03, 2023

In 2022, some of the lawmakers of the country finally chose to end Daylight Saving Time. They have already created the Sunshine Protection Act to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.

Initially, the proposal garnered enough attention and forced people to think about whether it is actually possible to get rid of this scheduling forever. After all, not everyone enjoys dealing with darkness at 4:30 p.m. during the winter and sunless mornings in the spring.

So, what will happen this year? Will Daylight Saving Time end? Or is it going to happen again? Here are the fundamentals.

What is Daylight Saving Time?

Most of America implements Daylight Saving Time (DST) - the practice of setting the clock forward by an hour when there are more daylight hours. In doing so, the evenings have more daylight, and the mornings have less. There are a few exceptions, such as Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of Guam, Samoa, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Navajo, however, observes DST in the Navajo Nation. This system started with the establishment of the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

The objective behind this practice is to reduce the time spent by people in “darkness" when the days are shorter. By changing the clock, you get more daylight in spring and summer evenings and more daylight during the early winter mornings. This year, DST ends on 5th November.

Why was this concept birthed?

Created by a British man called William Willet, an advocate of making the most of daylight hours and was mentioned in The Farmer's Almanac, he published a paper in 1907 titled “The Waste of Daylight." In it, he highlighted the idea that you must set the clocks forward when spring or summer starts. You can return to standard time in the fall.

However, this concept took hold only during World War I because, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, changing the clocks to get more “daylight" time helped save power and fuel.

What is the Sunshine Protection Act?

Starting on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November, DST lasts 34 weeks or 238 days, occupying 65% of an entire year. That's why the United States Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act in 2022, which justifies the permanent activation of DST. However, the U.S. House of Representatives did not approve it.

Two Florida Republicans sponsored the Sunshine Protection Act in 2022, aimed at eliminating the need for changing clocks for the winter months. To be precise, the country will no longer lag behind in the winter and will take advantage of a year of DST instead of just eight months, as per Senator Marco Rubio.

Where does it stand now?

Right now, there are no signs of the U.S. Congress passing the Sunshine Protection Act this year. The bill did not get enough support to win a majority vote in the House or Senate, and it did not appeal to the committees, either.

In March 2022, the bill passed the Senate via an unusual process called unanimous consent that does not involve voting. None of the senators objected to the passage of the Sunshine Protection Act upon its introduction. Then again, a companion bill in the House failed to make it out of committee, which prevented the Sunshine Protection Act from becoming a law.

Why is Daylight Saving Time bad?

“Springing ahead" means getting more daylight, but it can have negative effects on the health and overall well-being of a person. Things like sleep deprivation and seasonal affective disorder make DST an unsafe practice.

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Considering the fact that sunlight is humanity's primary time cue, it is not surprising that it alters the circadian rhythm or the sleep/wake cycle by moving the clock an hour ahead. It causes an effect similar to the jet lags you experience when traveling to a different time zone. DST may not be as drastic on sleep patterns as traveling across an ocean, but the impact is not as negligible, either. According to researchers from Michigan State University, folks sleep almost 40 minutes less the night after DST starts.

  3. Mental health deterioration
  4. Based on a study conducted in Germany in 2014 and published in the Economics Letters journal, there is a direct connection between the well-being of a person and DST. This effect is compounded in full-time employees associated with various organizations. DST even contributes to suicide rates, as per an Australian study published in Sleep and Biological Rhythms in 2008.

  5. Causing cardiovascular conditions
  6. DST increases the risk of heart attacks or myocardial infarction and strokes. The American Heart Association stated in 2018 that DST contributes to the chances of heart attacks. Another research conducted in Sweden found something similar. The inferences state an average increase of 6.7% in the risk of a heart attack in the three days after DST. The data published in the Open Heart journal in 2014 claimed an increase of heart attacks by 24% on the Monday after DST starts than on any other Mondays throughout the year. Conversely, the same study noted a decrease in heart attacks by 21% on the Tuesday that follows immediately after DST ends.

  7. More workplace injuries
  8. Even if you don't incur injuries at your office, DST may be troublesome for those who do physical labor. A study by the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2009 using mining accident data derived by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health highlights the increase in the possibilities of workplace injuries on Mondays immediately following DST and the severity of the same. Furthermore, the report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2013 pointed to a rise in the number of injuries in the summer and a decrease in November and December once Americans returned to standard time.

  9. More road accidents
  10. Austin C. Smith, an assistant professor of economics at Miami University, published a paper in 2014 that established the relationship between fatal car crashes and DST, which reported a 6.3% increase in accidents for six days right after changing the clocks in spring. The primary issue of DST is that it interrupts sleeping patterns and modifies the relationship between solar time and clock time. As a result, drivers have to adjust to darker mornings and brighter evenings.

What is the solution

The last point of the previous section brings us to the crux of the story. You have to put up with it since DST has not been ruled out by the Sunshine Protection Act. To do that, you need to adopt new driving habits. Or, you can try to become more aware of the issue to consciously avoid practices that could make you sleepy. Here are a couple of ways to enhance your safety during these drowsy and dark days.

  • No alcohol or sleep-inducing medications - Alcohol, sleep-inducing drugs, or a combination of the two can have serious consequences when driving in the dark. Mixing the two will be lethal as they compound your impairment. So, avoid taking a new medicine for the first time when you need to drive.
  • Recognize the warning signs - Reactions like excessive blinking, yawning, missing an exit, or drifting into another lane prove that your fatigue is catching up with you. Pull over and take a break or a brisk walk if you start experiencing these effects. Exercise wakes you up, after all.
  • Be wary of the dangers on the road - DST affects all Americans. Many will be sleepy and feeling drowsy due to the sudden change in time when driving, so keep your eyes open for others who may be struggling to stay alert. Also, the sky will get darker as the time will change, which will increase your chances of encountering animals on the road. Deer, for instance, are particularly active in November. So, prepare for that possibility when you drive through areas where wildlife may be present.
  • Improve your sleeping habits - There are more than enough distractions to keep people up at night right now, thanks to smartphones, video games, etc. If you have to drive, put your gadgets away an hour or two before you go to bed. Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is mandatory.

The takeaway

For everything else, you can always rely on a real time GPS tracker like Vyncs to improve on-the-road safety. A car tracking device like this one gives you peace of mind and eliminates the signs of drowsy driving, such as sudden acceleration, harsh braking, sharp cornering, etc.

Sources:

  1. https://blog.drivedifferent.com/blog/avoiding-the-driving-dangers-of-daylight-saving-time
  2. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/what-is-us-daylight-saving-time-why-was-it-created-2023-10-31/#:~:text=IS%20THE%20US%20ENDING%20DAYLIGHT,make%20daylight%20saving%20time%20permanent.
  3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/10/25/is-daylight-saving-time-ending-2023/71299193007/
  4. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/latest-updates-daylight-saving-time-legislation-change
  5. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/a45617233/daylight-saving-time-2023/
  6. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/daylight-saving-when-does-time-change-2023-fall-back-clocks-change/
  7. https://www.insider.com/daylight-savings-negative-effects-2018-3
  8. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-dark-side-of-daylight-saving-time#:~:text=Research%20suggests%20that%20changing%20our,appetite%2C%20mood%2C%20and%20sleep.
  9. https://sleepeducation.org/resources/daylight-saving-time/#:~:text=How%20do%20daylight%20saving%20time,the%20quality%20of%20our%20sleep.
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_the_United_States
  11. https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2023/7-things-to-know-about-daylight-saving-time
  12. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm/daylight-saving-time#:~:text=These%20issues%20include%20upticks%20in,due%20to%20spring%20time%20changes

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