It's a question we get asked regularly here at Yorkshire Rose Motorhomes. Customers new to driving motorhomes sometimes find it confusing to understand what type of driving licence is needed to enjoy their brand-new purchase.
The first element we need to understand is the MAM (maximum authorised mass) of a motorhome. So let's jump into that.
What Is Maximum Authorised Mass?
Maximum authorised mass is a combination of the motorhome's weight plus the maximum load it can carry.
For example, if a motorhome weighs 3,000kg and is able to carry an extra 750kg - Then the MAM would be 3,750kg.
If you're unsure of what your motorhome's MAM is, you can consult the owner's manual which should contain all relevant information regarding the vehicle's weight.
Depending on the MAM of a motorhome, you may have to hold a specific driving licence to be able to legally drive the vehicle. Below we're going to detail the different driving licence categories and what motorhome weights they enable you to drive.
Category B Licence
A category B licence is the standard UK driving licence and you will hold one if you have already passed your driving test.
A standard driving licence allows you to drive a motorhome with a MAM of less than 3,500kg.
Whilst this does limit your options, there are still plenty of fantastic motorhomes that fall into this licence category. For example, both the Auto-Trail Imala and Roller Team Zefiro have a MAM of less than 3,500kg and are perfect for couples to start exploring the country.
If you hold a category B licence and want to drive a motorhome heavier than 3,500kg, you'll need to take an additional driving test to add a new C1 entitlement, which brings us nicely on to our next driving licence category.
Category C1 Licence
A category C1 licence allows you to drive motorhomes weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg.
Most motorhomes in the UK fall into this weight category, including a lot of the vehicles in our showroom!
As well as allowing you to drive a motorhome between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, a C1 licence allows you to tow a trailer behind (up to 750kg).
Before booking your test to gain your C1 entitlement, it's recommended you book lessons to learn the correct techniques for driving larger vehicles.
Category C Licence
A category C licence is the entry level HGV licence and as far up the licence categories you need to go to be able to drive any motorhome.
With this licence, you're able to drive motorhomes over 7,500kg, however, bear in mind that these motorhomes are quite rare - Only the larger American RV models will weigh more than this.
This is important to bear in mind, as unless you're planning on buying a motorhome with a combined MAM of 7,500kg+, there's no reason for you to obtain a HGV licence. The test is much more rigorous and even includes a full medical examination. Alongside this, the cost of training is much higher than the C1 licence.
How Does Your Age Affect Eligibility?
If you passed your test before 1 January 1997, then you're automatically eligible to drive most motorhomes that you'll find on UK roads. Passing your driving test before 1 January 1997 enables you to drive any motorhome that weighs up to 7,500kg.
If you want to drive a motorhome that weighs more than 7.5 tonnes, then you'll need to obtain a category C1 driving licence.
How Much Do The Additional Driving Tests Cost?
It's important to note that the only required to take a category C or C1 test is to hold a standard driving licence. You don't need to do one before the other.
Both tests also cost the same through the DVLA. They're split into 4 Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests. These are:
- CPC part 1a: Theory - Multiple choice questions
- CPC part 1b: Theory - Hazard perception
- CPC part 2: Case studies
- CPC part 3a: Off-road exercises
- CPC part 3b: On-road driving
- CPC part 4: Practical demonstration
On average, to take all of these tests, the cost will be between £270 - £304 depending on whether you book weekdays or weekends.
It's important to remember that preparation is key here, and taking these tests without proper preparation and lessons is a recipe for disaster and means you're more than likely going to fail.
Restrictions On Imported Motorhomes
If you're driving a motorhome that weighs over 7,500kg, then it's more than likely an imported American RV.
These vehicles come with their own set of rules if you want to keep them here permanently. The size of motorhomes in the UK is restricted to 12 metres long and 2.55 metres wide.
These measurements don't include driving mirrors, rear bumpers, lamps or reflectors.
There is no height limit on a larger motorhome, however, if it's over 3 metres tall then there must be a sticker fitted showing the height of the vehicle, where the driver can see it.
Is There Anything Else You Need To Know?
It may sound basic, but it's important to remember that whatever driving licence you hold, to continue to drive vehicles on UK roads, you must follow the same rules as those with just a standard car licence, these include:
- Pay road tax on the vehicle you drive.
- Renew your driving licence when it expires.
- Ensure your vehicle is insured.
- Keep your vehicle roadworthy at all times.
Along with the requirements, yearly servicing and habitation checks allow you to keep your motorhome in the best condition possible.
See Our In Stock Motorhomes
We always have a wide range of quality used motorhomes in stock here at Yorkshire Rose Motorhomes. Whether you're deciding on your first-ever vehicle, or have one to part-exchange, we'd love to speak to you and show you around our indoor showroom.
Call our team today on 01302 439360 to find out more about how we can help you!
About The Author
Scott is the director at Yorkshire Rose Motorhomes and has more than 20 years of experience in the motor vehicle and leisure industry.
He's able to provide his customers with professional and knowledgeable advice in a laid-back environment, making it his priority to ensure his customers are always happy.
When he's not in the showroom, you're able to find Scott at one of the many national motorhome shows across the UK, so keep an eye out!