Bernard Mendelman: Seeing the daylight

This past Sunday, March 11 we moved our clocks ahead one hour as we switched to Daylight Saving Time. The sun now sets an hour later.

In February, the Florida legislation voted to maintain DST all year round. This would end the practice of resetting clocks twice a year on the second Sunday in March and first Sunday in November. However, before this becomes official, Florida will still need the U. S. Congress approval to take such action. If it was up to me, Quebec would also be permanently on DST. Research revealed that in 1908, Thunder Bay, Ontario, was the first to squeeze in that extra hour of daylight when it changed to DST. Other parts of the Western world soon began to see the light.

The DST switch takes place Sunday at 2 a.m. because most people are asleep at that hour, so it doesn’t disrupt working day activity. Since I have no intention to stay up until 2 a.m. just to make the change over so I’ll do it before I go to sleep that night or the following morning after I wake up. Most of the clocks in my home will need to be advanced the hour. The radio clocks in my bedroom, kitchen, home office and bathroom are all different and I’m always confused on how to go about adjusting their settings. The same applies to the clocks on my microwave and wall ovens, plus the clock in my car and the one I wear on my wrist. I wish all the appliances were as smart as my computer and TV sets since I know when I wake up Sunday morning that they will all have corrected times automatically.

Switching back and forth twice a year always messes up my routine. The first couple of days I’m never prepared for the sleep I’m about to lose and I will miss that lost hour of blissful snoring. Moving the hour forward screws up my eating routine and it will take about a week until I make the adjustment, but it’s a small price to pay for the large benefit of getting an extra hour of daylight in the evening.

Year-round DST will certainly make life more pleasurable. We can enjoy many benefits from the extra daylight. The result for students and for those who work traditional shifts would be having more sunlight at the end of the day to give them more time for socializing, and overall improvements to their mental health.

During the approaching warm months, I appreciate the longer evenings and lament their shortage as autumn approaches. After work, there’s still enough light to mow the grass, do some gardening or outdoor home repairs. The extra hour of daylight will provide children with more time to interact with parents who work during the day. It allows families time to enjoy an outdoor meal together, either at home or at an outside café or restaurant. It gives us more time for recreational activities after a day of work or school. In the extra daylight we can take in a sports game or concert, or just stroll through parks, stores and galleries.

I’m sure the resulting extra hour of daylight in the evening will reduce some energy costs, create less traffic accidents, and will even lowers crime rates. More traffic accidents take place when it’s dark. Crimes also tend to happen much more often in darkness. Extend the daylight, and crimes, especially outdoor crimes like muggings will occur less frequently.

With year-round DST we will no longer have to be out in the dark at 5 p.m. during December. In Montreal, with more light at that hour, vehicles speeding by might be able to actually see and avoid hitting all those potholes and construction cones.

All year-round DST will provide some evening time for Mayor Plante to enjoy bicycling through the mountain road. Buses, that will still be permitted access to the road, can pass her with its passengers even shouting, “hi-bonjour.”

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