Daylight Saving Time

Avatar Image
bluemoon1 | 21:58 Sun 14th Mar 2021 | How it Works
21 Answers
I can never get my head round this, daylight saving time started in the USA today. If they are to the west of us and the sun rises in the east, why do they put their clocks forward first and vice versa in the autumn?


1 to 20 of 21rss feed

1 2 Next Last

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by bluemoon1. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
because they are American and the 15th amendment - 'The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude or when the sun comes up'
Because it is a made up thing and any day will do.
Spring begins on the 20th of March So the US pick the nearest Sunday before that date, and the UK the nearest Sunday after that date.
Question Author
Yep, sunset is at 7:20pm today...Great.
Question Author
Sunk, spring begins on the 1st March in my book.
There are always going to advantages and disadvantages to any particular dates chosen for the changes. (For example, there can be concerns over road safety, particularly in the north of England and Scotland, if children have to walk to or from school in the dark at the start or end of BST). So a certain amount of compromise is necessary in deciding upon the actual dates to be chosen.

The EU (whose rules we're still following in regard to daylight saving time), or EC as it was then, decided back in 1981 that the best compromise for Europe was to commence daylight saving time on the last Sunday in March. (The date for the end of DST wasn't finally fixed until 1998, having moved around a bit prior to that but eventually becoming the last Sunday in October). In coming to that decision, the EC had to take into account the vast area to be covered, from Norway in the north, to Cyprus in the south. It was never going to be perfect for every member state but, as I've indicated, it was regarded as the best compromise available.

The US authorities have similarly had to decide upon the best compromise for their own country, settling upon the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November.

So there's no 'scientific' reason for the choice of dates. It simply comes down to what the legislators in a particular area deem to be best for their part of the world.

If we stick to keeping our time aligned with the rest of Europe (which, from a purely practical viewpoint, such as when reading ferry and airline timetables, would seem to make a lot of sense), this year might well see the end of BST, as the EU voted back in 2019 to end DST across Europe altogether by the end of this year.
Both dates are correct, the earlier date is the start of meteorological spring and the later date is when astronomical spring will begin.
Daylight saving time does not save any daylight.
Are you sure? I was taught that 365 daylights made a light year.

Caused quite a buzz at the time.
No, it doesn't, hopkirk, and randomly, we only attempt to in the summer- when there is a lot more anyway.
I’ve never understood why virtually every country in the world sets their clocks with 12 (mid-day) when the sun is at its zenith. For most people their waking day ranges from 7-8am until 9-10pm.
(For those living near the equator the sun rises at around 6am and sets at around 6pm all year round)

So the middle of the waking day for most is around 2pm, therefore it would make much more sense to move all clocks forwards by two hours – that way daylight hours would be maximised.

As Buenchico says, the EU voted to end changing the clocks – with each country deciding on their time zone. Having left the EU, we are under no obligation to follow suit, but if we do I hope we will be +1Hr GMT (permanent BST), for the reason above.
And it's worth mentioning that the USA being to the west of the UK has no bearing whatsoever on the issue. Longitude has no influence over the length of days. All points on the same latitude will enjoy the same length of day. Moving away from the Equator towards the poles sees the days lengthen at a greater rate between the shortest and longest days and shorten at a greater rate between the longest and shortest days. This means Edinburgh has a longer longest day and a shorter shortest day than London. London has the same length of days as Edmonton, Alberta and Madrid the same as New York.
Hymie, wouldn't it make more sense to change working hours, than the actual time?
If they are to the east of us aren't they also to the west of us?
Question Author
I said they are to the west, and of course they are to the east too, but it would be a long walk.
Question Author
Many thanks for all your replies.
Who really gives a rats rectum as to when other countries adjust their clock

Asking for a friend ;-)
If a particular winter clock setting, as determined by compromise/consensus, suits a country in optimising the use of less abundant daylight then why change that in summer. Is the summer clock setting actually to optimise the use of less abundant darkness ? Unless I am mistaken, GMT was set/defined in the UK as dictated by solar noon at Greenwich and GMT is used as the UK's winter clock setting (therefore agreed to be "best fit" ?), why use something different in summer ?
//...why use something different in summer ?//

Why indeed? I've never understood it. If some people want to get up and go to work later in the summer there's nothing preventing them from doing so (other than, perhaps, an agreement with their employers). I really have never seen why the entire country has to go through this ridiculous rigmarole of changing the clocks twice a year to accommodate them. There is only so much daylight. What time your clock says when the sun rises is rally immaterial.

As an aside, and as with many things which shaped modern Britain, it was principally the railways who were largely responsible for the adoption of GMT as the standard time for the UK. Until the mid 1800s it was only mariners who relied upon it for measuring longitude when they were at sea. Most towns and cities kept their own "local time" which corresponded to to sun being at its highest at noon. This caused problems for the railways in keeping to their timetables. In 1847 they adopted GMT as "Railway Time" and their timetables were devised on that basis. In some towns the public clocks had two minute hands - one for local time and one for Railway Time. Local time gradually went out of favour during the 1850s but it was not until 1880 that GMT became the official standard time across the country.

1 to 20 of 21rss feed

1 2 Next Last

Do you know the answer?

Daylight Saving Time

Answer Question >>