In Defense of Daylight Savings Time

February 2019

I have seen several recent critiques of daylight savings team, including Cliff Graydon’s bizarre “householder” that I received in St. Vital.   For the record some thoughts:

1. Is it really safer for drivers to not switch to daylight savings time?  I find this hard to believe, and one would have to prove that it is safer to have more people driving in light at 4 to 5 am ,rather than 9 -10 pm to make the case that DST is somehow “less safe for drivers”.  Also, if we think shifting one hour makes for dangerous drivers (apparently for days or weeks if one believes Mr. Graydon) then shouldn’t we ban anyone who flies to another time zone from driving for 24 hours?  The safety impact seems very questionable to me.

2. When my kids were small it was hard for them to get to sleep when it was still light outside.  However, the idea that moving dawn from about 5:30 to 4:30 am will have no impact on sleeping habits aslo seems questionable.  If you don’t go to DST then the extra hour has to “go somewhere” and that is at the start of the day (that is, if you don’t spring forward on the clocks, the dawn comes very early as compared to DST). 

3. “There is no cost to eliminating DST” also seems like a myth.  Do restaurants really want that extra hour of light at 4-5 am?  Do we think golf courses will make up lost revenue from evening golfers with a wave of golfers at 4:30?  Right now, my son’s baseball games can’t start a new inning after 8:30 pm – without DST that would shift to 7:30.  I suspect NOT having DST would produce even more calls for lights at very City playing fields. 

4.  Saskatchewan.  And here I invoke the curvature of the earth.  When I lived in Brandon and often drove to Winnipeg I realized that sunset was later in Brandon, and so was sunrise.  It’s because Brandon is further west, but in the same time zone.  The case is even more extreme in Saskatchewan, where sunset in Regina is about ½ hour later than in Winnipeg when we are all using standard time.  In other words, if Sask went to DST the sunset might be around 10:30 pm rather than 10:00 as in Winnipeg on the longest days.  So for Saskatchewan, not having DST is not the same as it would be Manitoba.  This of course would vary between east and west Saskatchewan, but the larger point is that for a city far east in its time zone, like Winnipeg, failing to adopt DST creates a very early dawn, more so than in Saskatchewan, due to curvature of the earth.