As days get shorter and nights get longer, we have a lot to look forward to. There are pumpkin patches, football games, and picturesque leaves piled high. There’s also the end of Daylight Savings Time, on November 4, when we set our communal clocks back an hour.
Change is always hard, but every situation has its bright side, too. With a little prep, you can make this autumn — even with the time change — your best season yet!
Pro: Gain an hour of sleep
When the clock slips back an hour at 2 a.m. on November 4, we gain an extra hour. In everyone’s favorite benefit of Daylight Savings, that’s an extra hour to sleep. Time to enjoy those extra Z’s!
Con: Facing an incorrect alarm clock
There are few things more disorienting than waking up only to realize you have no idea what time it is. Is it earlier than you think? Later? With some clocks automatically changing for Daylight Savings Time and others not, time can get a little fuzzy.
Tip: Change the clock before going to sleep
Before heading to bed on the 3rd, reset your clocks. Check your phone’s settings to see if it automatically adjusts time or if you’ll need to manually make the change. Consider updating other clocks before bed, like those on your microwave and TV, at the same time.
Pro: Earlier sunrise and fewer sleepy drivers
An extra hour of sunlight before your morning commute can make a big difference. Not only will you avoid that difficult-to-see-in dawn light, but you might also avoid driving alongside so many sleepy commuters. With an extra hour of sleep of the 4th and an hour more of natural light to wake up to every morning, we can all wake up (and drive) a bit more refreshed.
Con: Darker nighttime drives
The compromise for sunnier mornings, however, is darker evenings. For many, that means driving home from work once the sun has already gone to bed for the night. Because visibility goes down with the sun, it’s crucial to drive carefully when commuting home after sunset! In the dark, 20/20 vision is nearly impossible to sustain, our depth perception and field of vision decrease, and colors become more difficult to distinguish.
Tip: Prepare for dark drives
Dirty windshields can refract light from oncoming headlights, leading to dangerous blurry vision. Dim headlight bulbs can leave you driving practically blind. Prepare for more nighttime drives by taking care of common car issues in advance and checking out our top tips for driving safely after dark.
Pro: Electricity usage decreases
The primary purpose of Daylight Savings Time has been to maximize natural daylight, although the financial motivation of this has varied over the years, shifting from additional farming hours to a decrease in electricity usage. An often quoted 1970s study found Daylight Savings time produces a 1% decrease in electricity usage, most likely due to less reliance on indoor lighting during this time.
Con: Overall energy expenditure actually increases
Further studies have found that Daylight Savings Time does not produce significant decreases in energy usage – in fact, some studies suggest that energy consumption can even increase.
On one hand, Daylight Savings Time extends the hours of daylight we have to use productively, but on the other, it increases the time we spend using our heating and cooling systems. The energy benefits of more natural daylight are effectively canceled when we crank up our heat or A/C.
Tip: Watch how much energy you use
When you come home to a dark house and a darker sky, it can be tempting to blast the heater and get cozy; however, there are many greener ways to stay warm and reduce your heating bill! Invest in a great pair of fuzzy socks, make sure your doors and windows are sealed properly, and wear another layer of clothing. Grab an extra blanket to sleep with. Lower your thermostat by a few degrees – you likely won’t feel a difference.
Spring forward, fall back. Spring forward, fall back. There’s nothing to hate about Daylight Savings Time. Change is natural! Make the most of this change in seasons and double check your car insurance. You may need more or less coverage for a new season of life, just like you may need more or less blankets at night!