Spring forward, fall back. And the clocks will indeed shortly spring forward, bringing in…
Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 11.
• Clocks spring forward one hour at 3 a.m. Sunday, March 11
• Observed in all of Canada with some exceptions, including most of Saskatchewan
• Daylight Saving Time is observed in around 70 countries
• Timekeeping is considered a provincial and territorial responsibility
And according to science, Daylight Saving Time may actually be harmful. Here are some terrible effects of Daylight Saving Time to mull over before it comes back into effect in the spring-March 11th, 2018.
It does bad things to the economy:
The result: Higher electricity bills, as the longer day meant residents ran the AC an hour longer. In Australia, meanwhile, the 2000 Summer Olympics prompted some parts of the country to extend Daylight Saving Time, while others kept it the same. A subsequent study found power costs from lighting went down in the evenings, but rose in the mornings, negating any savings. As well, there’s a measurable productivity hit in the immediate aftermath of the change. A 2013 study found the lost hour cost the U.S. economy around $434 million.
And if you drill down in the science to the level of the average worker, you’ll find plenty of terrible individual effects as well.
It (temporarily) turns us into lousy workers:
It’s not reasonable to expect an artificially bleary-eyed workforce to perform at its usual level the Monday after the time change, and most people wouldn’t be surprised at what the science says. One study, for example, found a marked uptick in “cyberloafing” – basically, wasting time online at work rather than doing your job. That, for every hour of sleep lost, workers in their study spent about 20 per cent of their time on a task cyberloafing (I’d love to see the Facebook data on this). What it comes down to is a marked lack of attention to a task at hand. Wasteful in an office setting. Potentially life-threatening when you’re working in trades.
Drivers (and pedestrians) get hurt:
That lost hour in spring makes for bleary-eyed drivers, especially those who didn’t take advantage of the weekend to adjust their sleep schedules. In practice, that means more collisions on the roads. The number varies according to jurisdiction, but it’s measurable, and definitely linked to the time change. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, collisions in B.C. on the first Monday after the spring time change increased by 23 per cent from 2005-2009. CBC reports a similar uptick in Manitoba, which saw 20 per cent more collisions in the spring of 2015.
Collisions can be deadly. An October 2014 study from the University of Colorado (Boulder) saw a 17-per-cent rise in traffic deaths. Rather, CBC reports it’s pedestrians who are at risk. A 2007 Carnegie Mellon University study found pedestrians were three times more likely to be killed in traffic collisions after the fall switch. According to Business Insider, a 2007 study suggested the body is so attuned to the natural progression of day and night through the seasons, that humans may never actually adjust to Daylight Saving Time.
Article credit: The Weather Network
Photo credit: Huron County Public Health