Police Insure Blog

Times are Changing !

Times are Changing





On Sunday 31st March we will all dutifully perform the time honoured ritual of putting our clocks forward one hour to British Summer Time (BST). This twice yearly chore may provide us with a vivid reminder of just how many clocks we own, but how many of us really understand why we meddle with time?


The extra hour of daylight gained by advancing our timepieces at the start of summer saves the country millions of pounds in energy costs and also reduces the number of traffic collisions. Statistically, more road accidents take place in the morning than at any other time of day and dark winter mornings are particularly dangerous. As well as the human suffering caused by accidents, the resulting insurance claims have the knock on effect of pushing up premiums, so any way of improving road safety has to be a worthwhile exercise.


It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that the original suggestion to put clocks forward in summer was intended as a joke! Following a somewhat boozey night out in 1784 Benjamin Franklin, an American political delegate to France, was awakened at 6am by sunshine streaming through the window of his Paris hotel. At this time the cost of lamp oil was a hot topic, many claiming that its price was being kept artificially high by unscrupulous traders. Franklin nursed his hangover and mused over the insanity of wasting daylight hours sleeping, then spending money on artificial lighting in the evening. To general hilarity, he composed a paper proposing putting the clocks forward one hour at the start of summer, thereby gaining an extra hour of daylight.


It was more than 100 years before the issue was raised again, this time by New Zealander George Hudson in a report to the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1895. Twelve years later, London builder William Willett echoed Hudson's sentiments in a document proposing the adoption of BST.


In 1914, just as the topic was beginning to receive serious consideration, the outbreak of the Great War presented politicians and policy makers with more pressing matters on which to dwell. By 1916, however, the Germans had recognised the advantages of light saving between May and October and the potential benefits to their war effort. On 1st May that year the Central Powers of Germany and Austria put their clocks forward by one hour, beginning a trend which was to sweep the world. Britain followed suit on 21st May, establishing a system which has been with us ever since.


Australia and Canada joined the move to light saving by putting their clocks forward in 1917, whereas the USA did not. In fact, it was not until as recently as 1966 that the Americans adopted a common system. Before that, US towns and cities were free to decide their own time settings, resulting in a confusing and chaotic situation.


Since 1966 most of the world, except the equatorial countries where daylight hours are fairly constant summer and winter, have adopted a light saving system. The last country to do so was Mexico in 1992. Prolonged and often heated debate delayed the process for the Mexicans, and top of the list of objections was that it would put a strain on marital relations. Many Latin lovers complained that the loss of an hour in bed when the clocks went forward would put a stop to their traditional 'mananero' - literally a 'morning quickie.'



So, as you drive to and from work you are benefiting from the extra daylight hour which was the humorous idea of Benjamin Franklin more than 200 years ago. Also, if you are a police officer (serving or retired), a special constable or member of police staff (or partner of any of these) you can further benefit from some of the lowest premiums available for your car insurance.


Police Insure specialises in offering discounted insurance for members of the police family. Payments can be spread over the year, making your cover even more affordable.


You'll be amazed how much YOU can save with Police Insure


Call us NOW on 0161 762 4416 for a free quote or visit www.policeinsure.co.uk


David Griffin

Written by David Griffin at 00:00