A daycab is a type of road tractor
. A road tractor is the power unit used to pull one or more trailer
s to transport freight of various kinds.
Tractors can be classified in a number of ways, one of which is whether it has a sleeper compartment or not. The sleeper compartment allows the driver to go on extended trips, utilizing the sleeper for required rest breaks and saving the considerable expense of hotel accomodations. Sleeper equipped tractors may be used for short hauls but their true purpose is extended trips. Drivers may be gone for several days or several months, depending on the job requirements and his or her willingness to stay away from home.
The daycab has no sleeper compartment. This requires the driver, should he or she be gone for extended periods, to take required breaks in a motel or other similar accomodation. It is not allowed to simply lay a board over the seats and lie down to sleep. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, mind you, but it is against regulations. In the bad old days of my youth, I've gone on multi day trips and never lain down to sleep. I'd either jamb my back against the door and snooze or prop my feet up on the passenger seat. Returning from one of these runs was a relief, to say the least. For fun, I'd take my boots off and watch my ankles blow up like balloons. Big time truckin' fun, let me tell you.
The daycab is designed for short regional runs where the driver returns to the home terminal at the end of the work period. An advantage of the daycab is the shorter wheelbase, making the tractor significantly more maneuverable. This is an important advantage when delivering in an urban environment. The necessity of dodging traffic and parked cars as well as other obstacles demands every bit of advantage one can manage.
The sleeper has a certain mystique involved in its existence. After all, it's the driver's home away from home. It's viewed as an RV, though the recreations are generally of a solitary nature. It is certainly not a very satisfying substitute for a motel room with large shower and roomy bed complete with fresh sheets.
Many drivers would trade in their behemoth big rigs for a daycab if, at the end of the day, he could check in to a motel and stretch out, relax, and forget the road. Economics dictate otherwise, so daycabs are the solution for local or regional duty.