It's the End of Daylight Saving Time: Don't Forget To Set Back Your Clocks!
For most of the United States, Daylight Savings Time ends this year at 2am November 1 and with the time change also come unfamiliar driving conditions that can be hazardous without proper vehicle lighting.
During these next few weeks, it’s extremely important that drivers be super careful when navigating residential neighborhoods while adapting to the decreased amount of daylight. During this time of year as the days become much shorter and more kids are out and about in these twilight hours before and after school, it’s critical for drivers to be extra cautious about low-light headlight use so that they can see better and are able to recognize other vehicles, debris, animals, and especially pedestrians among the evening shadows.
Many don’t know why we do it. Some states (like Arizona and Hawaii) don’t do it at all. But twice a year, most of the United States resets their clocks -- an hour forward in Spring, an hour back in the Fall -- in a practice known as Daylight Saving Time.
The Car Care Council recommends vehicle lights be checked when your clocks “fall back” to help ensure safe driving, especially during dusk and peak evening traffic hours.
A vehicle’s lighting system includes headlights (high and low beam), parking lights, turn signals/emergency flashers, brake lights, tail and marker lights, backup lights, interior lights, and instrumentation lighting. If your vehicle is also equipped with fog lights, you'll want to check those too.
Now is a good time to clean your headlights of mud and muck; it's also a good time to ensure they are properly aimed according to procedures outlined in the owner’s manual. Headlights can be knocked out of alignment by rough driving, and if not properly aimed, can be distracting to other drivers. According to the National Safety Council, the number of traffic deaths is three times greater at night than during the day. Since 90 percent of a driver's reaction depends on visibility, it is extremely important that your headlights are aimed correctly, are clean, and are working.
Vehicle inspections during National Car Care Month in the United States have shown lighting to be an often neglected maintenance item, with 8 percent of vehicles inspected needing work on at least one of their turn signals, and 6 percent having problems with at least one of their brake lights.
If you're changing bulbs, consider upgrading to whiter, brighter premium headlights. Whiter, brighter bulbs -- like Sylvania SilverStar® ULTRA headlights -- can help drivers identify and react sooner to road hazards like debris, animals, disabled vehicles or even pedestrians, which are of especially high volume on Halloween night. Ensuring you have bright white headlights will help you spot children from greater distances, but be sure you take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
If they're dimming, it's a good idea to change headlight bulbs before they burn out. Bulbs dim quicker than you think, drastically reducing visibility so you see less of what’s in front of you, so it’s important to upgrade before burnout. Always change headlight bulbs in pairs. Changing one at a time can cause an uneven field of vision that can be distracting to both the driver as well as oncoming traffic.
Are your headlights showing their age? Over time, harsh UV rays, chemicals, and environmental pollutants take a toll on vehicles equipped with plastic headlight lenses, resulting in hazy, cloudy, and unattractive headlamps, as well as unsafe lighting during nighttime driving. You can easily restore your headlights to “like-new” condition using a pre-packaged headlight restoration kit for about $25, whereas replacing the entire assembly can cost upwards of $300.
Some blame Benjamin Franklin for the original idea, saying Mister “Early to Rise” was the first to suggest voluntary time shifts to account for the varying amounts of sunlight as the seasons changed throughout the year. According to Wikipedia, G.V. Hudson invented modern Daylight Saving Time in 1895, when he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift so that evenings would have more daylight and mornings have less.
Daylight Saving Time legislation first became law in the United States in 1918 as part of the Federal Act, which also established our national Standard Time Zones. Various regions of the United States optionally implemented Daylight Saving Time but it was confusing -- because the beginning and ending dates varied each year, and not all communities were consistent -- and costly for some industries, particularly transportation industries such as the railroads, bus companies, and airlines, and also for radio and television broadcasters.
President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to set standard beginning and ending dates for Daylight Saving Time across the United States.
Thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (which was actually enacted in 2007), Americans now set the clocks one hour ahead at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March to “spring forward” into Daylight Savings Time and “Fall Back” at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November to return to Standard Time.