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Switching to summer time

Summer time starts this weekend, at least in this part of the world. Africa and Asia generally don’t observe daylight savings time (DST), so if you just switched your clocks forward an hour, know that you are in the global minority.

The whole point of DST is that it gives us an extra hour of sunlight in the evenings during the summer months. The trade-off is a later sunrise, but since the days are longer to begin with, it’s something we have clearly come to accept.

Here is a graph showing the impact of daylight savings time on sunrise and sunset times in Greenwich. It’s from Wikipedia and it’s the clearest diagram I could find that quickly explains the change.

There’s a lot of debate around whether or not DST should be abolished or if we should simply adopt summer time, permanently. A bill is currently being reviewed that would allow Florida to observe DST year-round.

Some groups, like retailers, seem to benefit from daylight savings time. More evening sunshine hours means we’re more likely to shop. But it has a negative impact on other things such as drive-ins. (Do people still go to drive-ins?)

There are also arguments that it causes a decrease in economic output and an increase in traffic accidents – apparently we’re all groggy and accident-prone after having our sleep routines disrupted.

So what would be your recommendation?

1) Do nothing – status quo

2) Abolish daylight savings time

3) Observe daylight savings time year-round

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