Why Daylight Saving Time starts at 2am (DST starts this weekend!)


If you happen to be awake and staring at your smartphone in the very early hours of the morning on Sunday, you’ll have the small pleasure of watching the time jump right from 1:59AM to 3AM — the start of Daylight Saving Time. But why that hour, specifically?

… The United States first adopted DST in 1918 as a way to conserve energy during World War I, following the lead of both England and Germany. When choosing exactly when to make the switch, officials were looking for an hour that could easily disappear without wreaking havoc on people’s schedules across the nation. Since no Amtrak trains departed New York City on Sundays at 2AM, losing that hour seemed a little less consequential than any other.

… According to the book Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving time, Sunday morning at 2AM was when “[a time change] would interrupt the least amount of train travel around the country.

… The United States didn’t stick with daylight saving time after 1918 — partially because so many farmers opposed it — but it did resurrect the tradition during World War II, and Congress formalized the practice in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act (which also created the time zones we use today).

… The reason DST’s 2AM start time has remained standard through the years isn’t just because it prevents confusion among late-night train passengers. Considering that most bars and restaurants are closed by then, and early shift-workers won’t be awake yet, it’s a pretty quiet hour across the board.

PHoto: Getty images

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