Daylight Saving Time changes return tonight to mess with your travel schedule

Nov 2, 2019

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It’s that time of the year again when we get to sleep in for an additional hour, reclaiming that lost 60 minutes of rest borrowed from March thanks to the controversial time change. Gaining an extra hour also works in travelers’ favor this time of year, making us less likely to miss our flights due to the time change. (We’re still on the hook for our own tardiness, of course. )

Benjamin Franklin first proposed the concept of “saving daylight” in a 1784 essay, which very reasonably stated that adjusting national time to mirror the sun’s movements would significantly reduce candle use and expenses. (Unfortunately, researchers say Franklin was being satirical.) But in modern times when we no longer rely on candlelight, Daylight Saving Time often seems like more trouble than blessing. The biannual time change can wreak havoc on sleep schedules for parents of young children, increase the odds of accidentsinjuries and illness, and add additional complexity to travel time calculations. (It may, however, cut down on crime.)

Here are a few additional facts about “spring forward, fall back” season that you may not know:

  • The correct term is “Daylight Saving Time” — not “Daylight Savings Time.”
  • The time change takes place at 2 a.m. because fewer trains run at that time.
  • In fact, Amtrak adjusts for Daylight Saving Time in a unique way: In the fall, Amtrak trains sit at stations for an hour until the clock “catches up,” while springtime trains automatically fall behind by an hour and “attempt to make up the time.”
  • The US Department of Transportation is the federal entity responsible for regulating time zones and Daylight Saving hours. As the DOT website solemnly states, “The oversight of time zones was assigned to DOT because time standards are important for many modes of transportation.”
  • Hawaii and most of Arizona, as well as the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and American Samoa, do not follow Daylight Saving Time.
  • Although you may be most familiar with the main four time zones of the continental US, there are actually 10 time zones that cover US territory: Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska, Hawaii-Aleutian, Samoa, Chamorro and Wake Island.
  • Twin boys born on Nov. 6, 2016, unexpectedly found themselves in the Daylight Saving Twilight Zone. Older brother Samuel, officially born at 1:39 a.m. before the time change, looks younger on official birth certificates after younger brother Ronan was born at 1:10 a.m., immediately after the time change.
  • A number of countries observe Daylight Saving Time. Many others do not. Noteworthy outliers include: most tropical nations, where daylight hours don’t vary much between seasons; parts of Australia; a few select nations in Asia including China and India; Iceland; and most African countries.

At the end of the day, Scott Williams says it best for all of us:

And don’t forget to set your clocks back on Saturday night.

Featured photo by Getty Images.

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