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

Posted On: August 28, 2015

What is daylight saving time? 

Daylight saving time (DST) provides “extended” sunlight hours during the summer. Typically, those who practice DST must physically change their clock time ahead one hour (in the spring) or back one hour (in the fall) to ‘save time’. 

Why do Americans have a different time in the summer and winter?

Sometime in the mid 2000s, the end of DST was amended from the last Sunday of October to the first Sunday of November to allow for longer daylight for trick or treating on Halloween when it’s still light out. 

When do we observe the time change in the fall and spring?
In the spring, clocks are changed on the second Sunday in March at 2am local time for spring forward.

In the fall, clocks are set back on the first Sunday in November at 2am local time for fall back.

How do we observe daylight savings time? How does daylight saving time work? 
In the spring at 2am on the second Sunday in March, we should turn our clocks ahead (spring 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 (fall 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 wake up and change their clocks at 2am?
Not necessarily. Now a days most digital clocks set to local time in time zones observing the time change, so when you wake up you will see or feel the time change. If you are confused about what the right time should be, turn on the tv or radio for the local news, which would have the correct local time displayed. See this video below to watch the excitement of spring forward- the clock will magically change from 1:59am to 3am. This is how it works! 

Not all clocks will change automatically. Physically change your clocks on all time-telling devices such as: 

  • watches
  • microwaves/ ovens
  • alarm clocks
  • clocks in cars
  • wrist watches
  • any other gadget with a clock/watch on it! 
World Time Zones on the Smartphone

How does DST affect our family and friends abroad?
Because not all places or countries participate in DST, your family half a world away doesn’t feel the ‘time change.’ 

To see how the time change impacts communicating between the US and India on your virutal team, click here.

When is Daylight Saving Time in the USA?

Note that Spring Forward (end of Daylight Saving Time- DST) is the 2nd Sunday in March at 2am, while Fall Back (start of DST) is the first Sunday of November at 2am.

Spring forward and fall back

Time Change in March – March 13
Time Change in November – November 6

End of Standard Time – March 8

Start of Standard Time – November 1

Spring Forward – March 14

Fall Back – November 7

Start of DST – March 10

End of DST – November 3

Time change world map- Which countries follow spring forward and fall back?

Do you work on a distributed software team? Jennifer Kumar, author of this post works with your offshore development teams in the US and India to bridge culture understanding in a professional working environment. Check out our programs or contact us today. Thanks for your valuable time.

Related Posts: 
Is “time zone resentment” a thing?
Meeting Planning and Daylight Saving Time   
The magical moment of FIVE time zones in the US? 
Will I be late or early if I forget to change my clock in the spring? 

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Images in this post:
IPhone Courtesy Peter Ouwerkerk @flickr.
Map and clocks Courtesy Wikipedia
Fall Back Images:



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