Daylight Saving Time Change Sunday Could Affect Road Safety

COLUMBIA, S.C. —Daylight saving time starts this Sunday morning at 2 a.m.,  meaning you should set your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed Saturday night. That loss of one hour’s sleep can have serious consequences.

A study by a doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Boulder found that fatal crashes increased by about six percent in the six days right after the spring time change when people lose sleep. The increase was 17 percent on the Monday right after the change. But the study found no increase in highway deaths right after the fall time change when people gain an hour of sleep.

A recent survey done by Harris Polls for CareerBuilder found that only one in five U.S. workers gets the recommended eight hours of sleep each night as it is, so losing an hour, even on the weekend, makes the problem worse.

Julie Grohman of Columbia says, “I do not enjoy springing forward. It affects my whole house. My kids hate it and it sets back the entire household. I never look forward to it. I like to fall back.”

But Ben Johnson says, “I like it when it’s in effect. Always hate, you know, going back to the darker evenings and when you go to work and never getting to see daylight and spend time outside. So I’m excited about it. Wish that it wouldn’t keep changing back and forth.”

Summer Winslow of Columbia agrees. “I’m excited because, basically, when I get off work it’s not dark and I get to enjoy more time outside with my little boy.”

Daylight saving time (make sure you don’t add an “s” at the end of “saving”) was first used in Germany during World War I as a way to save electricity. It started there on April 30, 1916. A few weeks later, the United Kingdom also adopted what it called “summer time.” The United States then adopted daylight saving time on March 31, 1918.

Daylight saving time was repealed in 1919 after the war was over, largely at the urging of farmers. While a lot of people think daylight saving time was passed to help farmers, they were actually opposed to it. The time change for them meant hired hands got off work while there was still daylight and work that needed to be done.

The U.S. adopted daylight saving time again during World War II and it ended again three weeks after the war was over. It was adopted for good in 1966, but Hawaii, Arizona (except for the state’s Navajo Nation), and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana islands do not observe daylight saving time.