December 1, 2019 | View PDF
This past November 3, we all ran our clocks back one hour to switch from daylight saving time back to standard time. From then until next spring, we lose an extra hour of daylight every afternoon. As I’m writing this, more than a month before the winter solstice, darkness is already covering our state by 5:00 pm. For people who work from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, there is no daylight for any outdoor afternoon activities.
Of course, daylight saving time does not actually provide more daylight. A day is the same length no matter what. But it does provide more afternoon daylight for people whose workdays are ruled by the clock.
More independent people, like farmers, can set their time schedules for their own convenience. For them, time zones and whether they are on standard or daylight time does not matter.
Daylight saving time was conceived as a way to gain more daylight where it is needed most by those who do not have that option. But it was given only during late spring, summer, and early fall. During the short days of winter, our government assumed that daylight in the mornings was more essential, and they adjusted the time accordingly.
We are now hearing arguments to do away with daylight time. It would eliminate the twice a year clock changes that some people consider an unnecessary inconvenience. But we will lose our extra afternoon daylight.
Another proposed suggestion was to put the state on daylight time all year. This is a rational proposal, since we will keep our daylight and also eliminate the clock changes.
But so far, states are not on daylight time all year. Somehow, our Congress will not go for it.
But there is another solution: Take a look at a time zone map and where Alabama is located. It is in the Central time zone, but right on the border with the Eastern time zone. It would be a simple matter to extend the Eastern zone westward to include Alabama. That would have the same effect as central daylight time. We can also see that the Central time zone is much wider than the Eastern zone. The easternmost portion of it (Alabama) actually belongs in the Eastern zone.
Until recently, Indiana was also in the Central time zone. But a few years ago, the people over there checked out the time zones and the daylight periods within and noticed that they also belonged in the Eastern zone. They finally persuaded Congress to correct this discrepancy.
If we look toward Indiana, we can see that it is directly north of Alabama, and that its western border lines up perfectly with Alabama’s western border. Obviously Alabama also belongs in the Eastern zone. Our crazy short winter afternoons prove it.
We would have another beneficial effect: It would put all of Florida into a single time zone. Right now, the western portion of the panhandle is in the Central zone.
If the people in Congress have any common sense, they will move Alabama and western Florida into the Eastern time zone.
With that done, we won’t have to worry about daylight saving time.