Be Ready for the Return of Daylight Saving Time

Most of us cherish the time we get to sleep. So, it's only grudgingly that we set our clocks forward and lose one of those precious hours of sleep. Each year, on the second Sunday in March, all clocks in the US are supposed to be moved ahead one hour. This is "daylight saving" time, and in 2011 it begins on March 13.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving is designed to help us conserve energy by making better and longer use of the daylight hours. By moving the clocks forward, we're actually moving one hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. That one hour of "extra" daylight in the evening means there are fewer light bulbs lighting our homes, businesses and streets.

Daylight saving has been used in the US on and off since 1919, and over the years the starting and ending dates changed, and so did the laws on how the states had to change time. In 2005, a federal law made the starting date the second Sunday in March. Daylight saving ends on the first Sunday in November. That's when we "fall back" and set our clocks back one hour, and we get back that precious hour of sleep.

Things to Do

There are some things to do when Daylight Savings returns. For instance:

Set your clocks. This of course is the most important thing to remember, and you would be surprised how many forget it. If you don't set your clock forward you'll be an hour late for whatever you have planned for Sunday, March 13, like religious services or a brunch date. The US Naval Observatory's Atomic Clock can give you the precise time.

Take a nap! Really. Did you know "Nap Day" is the Monday after Daylight Saving starts? That lost of hour sleep makes us less alert and more prone to accidents. Find a quiet place during your lunch break and close your eyes for 20 minutes or so. And you don't have to wait until Monday. Set some time aside on Sunday and take nap in the afternoon while watching TV. A good nap may even make you smarter.

Check your progress. How did you do on the 10 things we talked about doing at the end of 2010? Have you updated your will, and are you ready to file your taxes? You're three months into 2011. It's a good time to start on the things that slipped through the cracks or follow up on the things that aren't finished yet.

Check the medicine cabinet. Again, it's a good idea to clean out your medicine cabinet at least once per year, and Daylight Saving is just as good a time as any. Get rid of medication that is expired or you no longer use. Be sure to dispose of it properly so your children and pets don't get into it. Keep the environment in mind, too. Your local EPA may have a collection program to help prevent water and soil contamination.

Check your electronics. Your wrist watch and the clocks on your wall aren't the only things that need resetting. Change the clocks on your computer, microwave,answering machine and coffee maker, especially if you rely on automatic brew in the mornings! Did you get a new cell phone or hand-held device for Christmas? Sometimes automatic updates on new models don't work as planned.

Change batteries. Although "fall back" day usually is when we're reminded to check and change the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, many safety professionals recommend doing it twice a year. Daylight Saving is a good time to do a safety check. And don't forget the environment. Check with your local environmental protection agency(EPA) for information about recycling your old batteries.

Swap clothes. March means spring, so it may be a good time to start gathering up winter clothes and tracking down your bins of spring and summer clothes.Donate unwanted or unneeded items and get receipts for your taxes.

How's the fridge smell? Arm and Hammer reminds us that Daylight Saving is a good time to switch out the box of baking soda in the refrigerator to cut down on odors and keep your food fresh.

Obviously, some of these things are more important than others, and the world's not going to end if you forget. But, you can make your life a little easier if you do as many as possible!

Questions for Your Attorney

  • My employer's time clock wasn't set for Daylight Savings so I and others didn't get paid for five hours of work. Is there anything we can do about it?
  • How can I start a drive or petition to end Daylight Saving time?
  • If people are more accident-prone around the seasonal time changes, has that factor ever been an issue in a personal injury case?
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