COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- We have all heard the phrase “Spring Forward, Fall Back” when it comes to changing the clocks, but what does that actually mean, and didn’t South Carolina vote to get rid of it?
Daylight saving time (DST) refers to the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time in the summer months, and back one hour in the winter months.
This year, daylight saving time in South Carolina began at 2:00 a.m. on March 13 and will end at 2:00 a.m. on Nov. 6.
“That means the sun will set between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and rise between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. until March,” Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Oliva Lawrence explained.
Impact of the time change
If you are someone who dreads losing that extra hour of sleep when we “Spring Forward,” you are not alone. A poll conducted by Monmouth University in March found that 61% of Americans would do away with the twice-a-year time change in favor of year-round standard time.
And according to health experts and highway safety officials, the move to permanent daylight saving time could have a big impact.
According to Northwestern Medicine, the week after the shift to daylight saving time there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, strokes, depression, and digestive and immune-related diseases such as colitis.
Having shorter days can also disrupt the circadian rhythm, better known as a person’s internal clock, which regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness.
Dr. Valerie Scott, a family medicine physician at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, recommends spending as much time as possible outside to prevent sleep disruption.
“Go outside and be exposed to the sun because that will set your internal clock and it will help the melatonin be produced, which is our natural way that we know when it’s day and when it’s night,” Dr. Scott said.
Another pitfall of having shorter days is the increased likelihood of traffic accidents as more motorists are traveling in the dark on their evening commute.
This is especially true when it comes to deer collisions, according to a study published in Current Biology, as drivers are 16% more likely to hit a deer in the week after the fall clock change. Year-round daylight saving time, researchers said, could prevent roughly 36,500 deer deaths, 33 deaths and 2,000 injuries among people, and save roughly $1.9 billion in collision costs annually.
Didn’t South Carolina vote to end the practice of changing the clocks?
In 2020, Governor Henry McMaster signed into law a bill that made daylight saving time permanent meaning we would stop changing the clocks twice a year and stick with eastern standard time.
But, there is a catch. The law is contingent on an act of Congress.
“If the United States Congress amends 15 U.S.C. Section 260a to authorize states to observe daylight saving time year-round, it is the intent of the South Carolina General Assembly that daylight saving time be the year-round standard of the entire State and all of its political subdivisions,” the text reads in full.
In March, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent across the United States next year.
The bill called the “Sunshine Protection Act” has yet to be passed by the House and would still need President Biden’s signature to take effect.
If passed, the measure would take effect in 2024.
So at least for now, do not forget to set your clock back one hour before you head to bed on Saturday night!