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<!–:en–>“SPRING AHEAD, FALL BACK”<!–:–>

March 1, 2012

On Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 2:00 A.M., Standard Time will end and Daylight Savings Time begins with our clocks going forward one hour.

For those of us from countries that adjust our clocks every spring and fall, the phrases, “Spring Ahead, Fall Back” or “Spring Forward, Fall Back” is taught to us at an early age in primary school to help us remember how our clocks are adjusted. This popular mnemonic has been in use for the better part of the last 100 years to notify people of the seasonal time clock
adjustments.

The term “to spring ahead” refers to when people set the clocks one hour forward, marking the start of Daylight Savings Time (DST). It is a term that is easy to remember for many people in countries such as Canada, the UK and the USA. This is because the DST start date generally coincides with the spring season in these countries. It is the time of the year when the days begin to have longer hours of sunlight after the winter’s end, in addition DST, which brings forth an extra hour of daylight in the afternoons or evenings.

The term “to fall back” suggests that one must set the clocks one hour back when DST ends or the return of Standard Time. It is associated with the fall season because the DST schedule ends in the fall. The fall season and the end of daylight saving time mark a period when the days become darker, in that there are less hours of sunlight during the day, particularly in the afternoons or evenings, as winter soon approaches.

The upside of the autumnal time clock change is that we get an extra hour of sleep. Conversely, in the spring, we get the downslide with the move of the clocks ahead one hour and losing an hour of sleep. Unfortunately, by Monday you’re feeling the effects of that hour of lost sleep.

Studies have shown that the change to DST has an impact on the number of car accidents and work injuries. One study had shown that the number of car accidents increase by 8% on the Monday following DST. Another study using U.S. government data on
mining injuries found that on-the-job injuries tended to spike on the first workday after daylight saving time begins. Compared with other days, the Monday after the clocks turned forward saw an average 5.7 percent increase in injuries, and an increase in injury severity.

So, be careful on the roadways and at work during those first few days after March 11th this year. And for those of you who have developed that nasty habit of “inattentional blindness” as you walk about staring at your cell phone, a double caution.