Have you ever heard of Daylight Saving Time (DST) and always wondered what it actually is? Well, DST is a seasonal time used to save energy and make better use of daylight. It was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada. Today, approximately 70 countries worldwide are using the concept of DST to save energy.

What really happens in DST?

During DST the clocks are set ahead of standard time, usually by 1 hour. DST generally goes on for few months and there are countries that use it throughout the year. As DST starts, the Sun rises and sets later, on the clock, than the day before. For example in US, DST begins in the summer months and ends in winter. They usually start DST on the second Sunday in March. The people are requested to move their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time (so if the actual time is 2 a.m. on that day, the clocks would read 3 a.m. according to local daylight time). Daylight saving time usually ends on the first Sunday in November, when the clocks are moved back an hour at 2 a.m. local daylight time (so they will then read 1 a.m. local standard time).In 2018, DST is scheduled to begin on March 11 and end on Nov. 4, 2018.

Research suggests that with more daylight in the evenings, there has been a sharp decline in the number of traffic accidents. This is possible as there are fewer cars on the road when it’s dark outside.

More daylight in the evenings allows full-time workers to spend more time in outdoor exercises.

Brief history of Daylight saving time

Benjamin Franklin invented the concept of DST. He suggested the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy. He said that by moving the clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting.

DST didn’t get much importance initially. Germany started implementing DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War. It was in 1918 that the United States finally adopted DST to save energy.

Can we save Energy using DST?

Although DST is being used in more than 70 counties worldwide, but the evidence for energy savings is slim. Researchers say that brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, but with the advent of efficient lights the total energy consumption has reduced than it was a few decades ago.

They further added that some places may need air-conditioning for longer duration for hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.

Which countries observe daylight saving time?

United States: Most of the states in US and Canada observe DST on the same dates. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time.

Europe: Most of countries in Europe observe daylight saving time. They call it “summer time”. DST starts at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October.

UK is also one of the countries that support DST. They moved their clocks forward on March 26 and back again to standard time on October 29 in 2017 .They will perform this same ritual on March 25 and October 28 in 2018.

Countries like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Southern America, which fall in the Southern Hemisphere, prefer to set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November. They move them back to standard time during the March April time frame.

Australia, as a country, doesn’t follow DST uniformly. States like New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving. Queensland and the Northern Territory are the two states which do not follow DST.

Russia is one of the few countries who adopted year-round daylight saving time in 2011.It is also called as permanent “summer time”. During winters, Russians had to start work in cold and pitch-dark as sunrise occurred at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg.

Daylight Saving Time has its own pros and cons on living beings. Experts say that it gets difficult for pets to adjust to the time change. Like humans, our dogs and cats living indoors and even cows get disturbed when you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual.