Home   Time Zones   Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time – DST – Summer Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.

Commuters and tourists in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom.

The sculpture "Six Public Clocks" in London.

Commuters and tourists walking through the sculpture Six Public Clocks by Konstantin Grcic in 1999 in Canary Wharf, London, U.K.

©iStockphoto.com/william87

Clocks Back or Forward?

“Spring forward, fall back” is one of the little sayings used to remember which way to set your watch. You set your clock forward one hour in the spring when DST starts (= lose 1 hour), and back one hour when DST ends in the fall (= regain 1 hour).

Northern Hemisphere

North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, northern Africa

Many countries in the Northern Hemisphere (north of the equator) use DST in the summer time, but not all. Daylight Saving Time usually starts in March-April and ends in September-November when the countries return to standard time, or winter time as it is also known.

Southern Hemisphere

Australia, New Zealand, most of South America, southern Africa

In the Southern Hemisphere (south of the equator) the participating countries usually start the DST period in September-November and end DST in March-April.

Not without Controversy

In the US, proposals to abolish the yearly time change regularly appear on the legislative agenda.

In November 2018, California voters approved “Proposition 7”, allowing for the possibility to put Californians on year-round DST. In Florida, a bill dubbed the “Sunshine Protection Act” was passed on to Congress in March 2018, eliminating the practice of setting the clocks twice a year. The Bill is awaiting approval at the federal level.

From experience, similar efforts to end DST have previously been voted down in the legislative system before they reach Congress.

European Union Ready to Scrap DST

Daylight Saving Time could soon be a thing of the past in Europe. On March 26, 2019, the European Parliament voted in favor of removing DST in the European Union (EU) permanently.

The proposal is another formal step towards a permanent elimination of DST in the EU and will form the basis of discussions between the EU Ministers to produce a final law repealing Directive 2000/84/EC, the EU's existing DST legislation.

Under the new directive, each Member State will have to decide until April 2020 whether to remain permanently on “summer time” or to change their clocks back one final time to permanent standard time.

More Than 100 Years

When Germany first set the clocks forward on April 30, 1916, it became the first country in the world to use DST on a national level. However, the town of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada implemented DST as far back as 1908.

Suggested Earlier

US inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin first proposed the concept of DST in 1784, but modern Daylight Saving Time was first suggested in 1895. At that time, George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, presented a proposal for a 2-hour daylight saving shift.

Why Use DST at All?

Less than 40% of the countries in the world use DST. Some countries use it to make better use of the natural daylight in the evenings. The difference in light is most noticeable in the areas at a certain distance from Earth's equator.

Some studies show that DST could lead to fewer road accidents and injuries by supplying more daylight during the hours more people use the roads. Other studies claim that people's health might suffer due to DST changes.

DST is also used to reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting during the evening hours. However, many studies disagree about DST's energy savings, and while some studies show a positive outcome, others do not.

Not Always One Hour

Today clocks are almost always set one hour back or ahead.

However, on Lord Howe Island, Australia, clocks are set only 30 minutes forward from LHST (UTC+10:30) to LHDT (UTC+11) during DST.

Throughout history, there have been several variations, like half adjustments (30 minutes) or double adjustment (2 hours). Adjustments of 20 and 40 minutes have also been used.

Topics: Daylight Saving Time, Timekeeping

DST in New York, USA

Change DST city

Advertising

Daylight Saving Time – DST

  1. One Hour Back or Forward?
  2. What Is Standard Time?
  3. Savings or Saving?
  4. Pros and Cons of DST
  5. Your Health and DST
  6. Is Summer Time the Same as DST?
  7. Winter Time or Standard Time?
  8. History of DST
  9. DST in the USA
  10. History of DST in Europe
  11. How Does DST Work?
  12. DST Statistics

Time Zones & DST


You might also like

GMT or BST in the UK?

The UK is not on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) all year. During Daylight Saving Time the correct time zone is British Summer Time (BST). more

Business watch and one hundred dollar bill

History of DST

History of Daylight Savings Time (DST). Who invented it and in what year? What is the purpose of having a time change every year and when did Daylight Saving Time start? more

Illustration of fingers changing the time on a wristwatch.

1 Hour Ahead or Back?

Which way do the clocks go? "Spring forward or fall back" is just one way to remember which way set the clocks for Daylight Saving Time (DST). more

Achtung! This page is now also available in German. Auf timeanddate.de finden Sie ab sofort dieselben Services auf Deutsch. Jetzt ausprobieren!