Mar 6, 2020

Why Resetting Your Clock Can Be…Fatal!

A Timely Warning for March 8

By Ed Goldman
This Sunday, in what Frank Sinatra called “the wee, small hours,” we welcome back daylight saving time to our already unmanageable schedules. But we’re being warned that the annual switcheroo may prove fatal.

What a fun way to usher in spring, which begins just 11 days thereafter.

A recent article on clock resetting indicates that you’re “more at risk” to have a deadly car accident starting this Sunday and on into next week. This is from the publication, “Current Biology,” which you can find online 

As a brief aside, I have to tell you that I heartily approve of the journal’s name since I doubt there’d be much of a market for something called “Former Biology” or “Passé Biology.” It’d be a little like calling your journalism website Old Newsweek.  

So, what does being “more at risk” to have a deadly car accident really mean? I think “more” needs to be defined. More than what? I’m presuming it means “more at risk” than on New Year’s Eve or during an earthquake that occurs during Rush Hour or a typhoon that hits the Mardi Gras parade.

Ed’s grandmother’s Art Deco clock, which he never resets because he doesn’t know how.

The article indicates that the added risk “may be connected to fatigue combined with the darker morning hours of the first week of daylight saving time,” according to a recap in the New York Times (you didn’t think I actually subscribed to something called “Current Biology,” did you? Now, if it were called “Future Biology,” I’d probably give it a look).

The Times piece added,  “The only time of day that showed no (more risk) effect was 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” which really blows my Rush Hour theory all to hell.

Advancing her own theory, however, is the author of the actual study. Assistant Professor Céline Vetter, who teaches integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, wrote that there’s “strong evidence for something real going on” during time changes, adding that there “are no real benefits in daylight saving time for economics or energy saving. Let’s get rid of the switch to daylight saving time.”

Introducing a little politics into the science, are we, Dr. Vetter?

Nonetheless, I agree with her. But I’m convinced that the real reason daylight saving time can prove fatal for drivers is if you attempt to reset your Fitbit wrist watch while changing lanes on the interstate.

You may email my Genius Grant to this website.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).