Spring Ahead & Fall Back: What is Daylight Saving Time?

Every spring and fall the clocks are changed in the United States (U.S.). in almost all states. People that come to the US from abroad may not have day light saving time in their countries. At the end of this article is a map that shows which countries participate in daylight saving time.

In this article, I hope to provide a tutorial to international students, expats, foreigners and others new to America about daylight saving time (DST).

What is daylight savings time?
Day light saving time is a way to change the clock time ahead one hour (in the spring) or back one hour (in the fall) to 'save time'. Originally, "they" claim this was done for farmers, but now-a-days I think it's done more for social reasons. A few being:
  • Kids will not have to go to school in the dark (especially in fall/winter).
  • To have more light in the mornings in the winter (coincides with #1).
  • Kids can 'trick or treat' on Halloween when it's still light out. (They changed day light savings time in 2009 from October to November for this reason.)
  • It will stay brighter out later in the summer so we can enjoy the summer weather with longer daylight.
Maybe there are other reasons, these are my guesses.

When do we observe daylight savings time?
In the spring- Second Sunday in March at 2am local time.
In the fall- First Sunday in November at 2am local time.

How do we observe daylight savings time? What do we do?
In the spring at 2am on the second Sunday in March, we should turn our clocks ahead. Instead of it being 2am at 2am it will now be 3am. We lose one hour of time that weekend.

In the fall at 2am on the fist Sunday in November, we should turn our clocks back. Instead of it being 2am at 2am it will now be 1am. We gain one hour of time that weekend.

Does one have to do it at 2am?
Well, no, though it will make the alarm clock wake you up at the right time Sunday if you do! We can do it when we fall asleep the night before so our alarm will wake us up in the morning. We do not have to get up at 2am to change it this way.

If I forget or am confused how do I know the correct time?
There are a few tricks if this is confusing! Breathe a sigh of relief!

Firstly, if you have computers or cell phones, these modern devices can change the time automatically as long as you have set them up to the right time zone.

Secondly, turn on the TV news as soon as you get up. Most news stations have a clock somewhere on the screen. When we see this, we can get the right time!

After this, remember to manually change all clocks that have times on them, this includes
- watches
- microwaves/ ovens
- alarm clocks
- clocks in cars
- wrist watches
- any other gadget with a clock/watch on it!

How does DST affect our family and friends abroad?
Our friends and family abroad want to call us in America. We want to call them. But, don't forget though our time has changed, theirs may not have, so keep track of the time by visiting this website and putting in your local current time to compare against where you want to call.
World Clock- Time Zones on timeanddate.com

Daylight savings times also impacts how meetings are scheduled across international time zones. For information on managing time when the clocks change, read this article.

When is DST in 2013, 2014 and 2015?
Clock: World Time
Spring ahead - March 10
Fall back - November 3

Spring ahead - March 9
Fall back - November 2

Spring ahead - March 8
Fall back - November 1

Author of this post and owner of this blog, Jennifer Kumar works with Indians to improve cross-cultural understanding between colleagues and clients in the global workplace.

Images in this post:
IPhone Courtesy Peter Ouwerkerk @flickr.
Map Courtesy Wikipedia

Thanks for your valuable time.

Related Posts:
Meeting Planning and Daylight Saving Time   

Networked blogs link: nblo.gs/UeBG8

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