Overview of the Locations and Observances
While it may seem confusing, many of the U.S. States and countries in the Eastern Standard Time zone also observe what is known as Eastern Daylight Time for a portion of the year. This switch is due to the observance of Daylight Saving Time, and it affects how participating countries and states conduct their daily schedules and routines during certain times of the year.
Let’s explore the difference between this and the standard time that is observed in this part of the world in other parts of the year. We’ll also take a look at the other countries that observe this change in the official time, and finally we’ll take a look at why many believe this practice of changing time is no longer needed.
EDT vs EST: Finding the Differences and Fixing Common Mistakes
When considering the difference between EDT and EST, we need to understand how Daylight Saving Time functions. In the summer, those who observe this practice will be on EDT time which is four 4 hours behind Universal Coordinated Time. During the winter months when they go back an hour, they will be 5 hours behind UTC and therefore part of Eastern Standard Time.
The reason for these biannual changes in the time was originally to allow for more sunlight during the summer months for those who worked the standard 9 to 5 shifts at their jobs. As mentioned earlier, not every country in this time zone uses the practice.
It’s common courtesy to provide a time zone when scheduling a broadcast or a live event. In many cases you will see the abbreviation of the time zone placed after the scheduled time. A great example is saying that an event beginning in Miami begins at 1:30 PM EST. The time zone at the end allows the viewers to understand that it begins at that time in a specific time zone so they can plan accordingly if they live on the west coast for example.
When providing a time or scheduling a meeting, it’s important that you understand how these time zone distinctions work. For example, if you’re on the eastern coast of the United States, you’re in the EST/EDT zone depending on what time of year it is. If you’re on the west coast, you are on Pacific Standard Time (PST) or PDT (daylight time) again, depending on if it’s summer or winter.
If you wanted to have a Skype chat with someone on the west coast, you would need to calculate for a three hour difference in time that moves backward. If the meeting is 12:45 in your eastern time, then it would be 3 hours behind for them, so 9:45. This is of course assuming that you’re both in standard or daylight time respectively.
If all of this sounds confusing, you can easily use a time zone converter to make the changes quickly when scheduling between time zones. When it comes to the distinction between EDT and EST, the matter becomes more complicated as Daylight Saving Time isn’t something that all members of each time zone observe.
This concept refers to “springing ahead” in the early spring and “falling back” in the fall. During the summer months, EDT is observed and in the winter EST is returns to the dominant form of time. A common mistake in all manner of announcements and broadcasts, is not defining between these two forms of time zones. These can lead to a lot of confusion when the times don’t match up.
What Locations Observe EDT?
The primary locations that observe EDT during the summer months are in North America and the Caribbean. Let’s examine the U.S. States that observe this practice:
- District of Columbia
- Florida (in the Southern/eastern locations)
- Indiana (All except the north-western counties near Chicago)
- Kentucky (only in the eastern locations)
- Michigan (except western counties)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Tennessee (eastern counties only)
- West Virginia
There are also several Canadian provinces that observe EDT in the summer and EST in the winter:
- Nunavut (for the most part)
- Ontario (most locations east of 90 West and two east of it)
- Quebec (most of the province)
Finally, there are a few Caribbean countries that use this same distinction in summer and winter:
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Other Time Zones with the Same Offset
While these locations observe EDT during the summer where they are -4:00 UTC, there are several other time zones that reflect this offset throughout the year. Let’s take a quick look at those:
- AMT - Amazon Time
This time zone is four hours behind UTC and is observed in South America in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso Do Sul with some exceptions. These states observe a form of DST known as Amazon Summer Time which is abbreviated AMST. Other Brazilian states observe standard AMT all year and include Amazonas, Rondonia, and Roraima.
- AST - Atlantic Standard Time
Some locations within this time zone also observe DST which puts them in the Atlantic Daylight Time or ADT zone during certain times of the year. There are several locations in North America that observe AST and ADT including Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Quebec, east of 63 West, uses AST all year without any time changes. Greenland uses AST and AFT in the Thule area. Both variations are used by the island of Bermuda. In the Caribbean, over 20 countries use AST all year.
- BOT - Bolivia Time
This time zone is exclusive to the country of Bolivia and observed throughout the year without any changes. It is always at UTC -4:00.
- CDT - Cube Daylight Time
On the island country of cuba they UTC offset is -4:00 during the times they observe DST.
- CLT - Chile Standard Time
The mainland of Chile observes this time during the winter months, in the meantime they are observing Chile Summer Time (CLST).
- FKT - Falkland Island Time
This time is observed exclusively on the Falkland Islands in South America. During the summer a different time is used known as Falkland Island Summer Time (FKST).
- GYT - Guyana Time
This time zone is observed by the South American country of Guyana and uses the offset of UTC -4:00. This is the time zone throughout the year; there is no observance of DST.
- PYT - Paraguay Time
Paraguay also has their own time zone which switches to Paraguay Summer Time (PYST) in the summer months and resumes this normal UTC -4:00 offset in the winter months.
- Q - Quebec Time Zone
This is a military time zone that is observed by aviation. The letter Q is used to designate this time zone. It is used over the sea between the longitudes of 67.5 degrees West and 52.5 degrees West.
Why Many People Want DST Abolished
There are other time zones that make the change between their standard times and summer times, but this practice has been under scrutiny since it began. This practice was first casually suggested by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, and it was first used by the Germans in WWI to save coal, and it was here that the concept took hold.
Since then, many of the countries that observe it haven’t reversed it, which has prompted many people to argue against it, saying that the entire concept is not only pointless, but detrimental to the health of the general public. The proponents of this practice claim that it saves energy, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and reduces traffic accidents. Are these claims true? Let’s find out.
- Saving Energy
The idea of saving energy was first put forth by the Germans. They believed that by changing the clocks, people would use less artificial light in the evening hours and therefore would need less coal. It was a good idea, but it has been over 100 years since WWI and recent studies are showing that the amount of savings is less than 1% in the United States or almost zero in other cases.
- Cutting Down Traffic Accidents
This argument claims that DST lowers the amount of traffic accidents, but studies have shown extremely small or completely negligible amount of reduction. With such a small influence, the question begins to rise on whether we need this practice anymore.
- It Makes us Healthier
While the hour change does allow for more sunlight and therefore more opportunity to be physically active, the sudden change in our routine can also be extremely detrimental to our health. Our circadian rhythms are dependant on our routines and sudden changes can drastically alter these all important rhythms in our body.
Every spring when the clocks change, there is a massive spike in suicide rate and in recorded heart attacks. The country of Kazakhstan abolished DST in 2005, citing health reasons behind their motivation. The undue stress on your body isn’t worth a few extra hours of sunlight.
This practice costs the United States billions of dollars each year as it damages business hours, agriculture, and the stock market in major ways. There are plenty of people who still support the practice, but there are also plenty of reasons to do away with it altogether.
This variation of the Eastern Standard Time zone is, for some, an outdated practice, and for others a necessity to enjoy more of the daylight during the summer. Now that you know where and how this time zone is observed, you can make better decisions about where you want to live. You can also convert your time to other zones from or to this one in the future to help with your scheduling and planning.
Thanks as always for reading and be sure to visit our blog for more in-depth articles and posts!