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Can I Drive a Motorhome on a Car Licence?

Are you bored of traditional holidays? The types of getaways where you stay in a hotel, sit by the pool, go to sleep and repeat for a week. To some, this might sound like the perfect vacation. But if you are looking for adventure, we can offer an exciting alternative. 

If you’re one of those people who love to be on the go, renting one of our deluxe vehicles might be right for you. At Melling Motor Homes, we are passionate about helping you create memories with your loved ones. 

However, there are some legal requirements to meet before you can rent one of our Italian motorhomes. You might be wondering, ‘can I drive a motorhome on a car license?’ 

We will tell you all the necessary details, like licence requirements, age limitations, and how the weight of your chosen vehicle might affect your ability to get out on the open road. 

Licence Requirements

Licences are a funny thing: changes in legal requirements happen frequently and, with this, comes those who have ‘acquired rights’.

Also known as ‘Grandfather Rights’, these are granted when there is a change in legal requirements. When these alterations change the qualifications a person must obtain to practice, those already in the industry are protected and considered qualified.

They do not have to train by the same, newly-introduced standards and continue business as usual. When it comes to driving a motorhome, there are some grandfather rights that you need to know.

Whether you can drive a motorhome on a car licence also depends on the weight of the car, also known as the Maximum Authorised Mass. Licensing laws also have age restrictions, meaning that, once you pass your 70th birthday, you may not be able to drive a motorhome.

Let’s explain these three licencing requirements!

Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)

The Maximum Authorised Mass is the vehicle’s weight plus the maximum load it can carry. Motorhome weights divide into 3 categories:

  1. Under 3,500kg – If you have a car licence, you can drive a motorhome that weighs under 3,500kg.
  2. Between 3,500kg and up to 7,500kg – If you passed your driving test before the 1st of January 1997, driving this motorhome until you are 70 is legal. Then, you will need to apply to the DVLA to keep your Category C1 licence.
  3. Over 7,500kg – you need a Category C or LGV licence to drive a motorhome in this category.

A standard UK driving licence that allows you to drive any car is a Category B licence. You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass, with up to eight passenger seats.

To obtain a Category C licence, you must pass an additional test. Once you do, you can drive vehicles weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg. Large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers typically possess this licence, meaning you can also operate bin lorries and tipper trucks.

Last but not least, an LGV licence means that you can drive vehicles over 7,500kg, including construction equipment.

To see what type of motorhome you are legally allowed to operate, check your licence. The categories of vehicles you have access to are listed on the back. 

When did you pass your driving test? 

Now, back to the ‘Grandfather Rights’ we mentioned earlier. New legislation introduced in 1997 saw many drivers granted acquired rights when it comes to their licensing category allowances. 

The Motor Vehicles Amendment of 1997 made it so that anyone wishing to drive a vehicle over 3,500kg (or 3.5 tons) would have to complete an additional test. 

However, those who obtained their Category B driving licence before this time retain their right to drive Category C vehicles (those weighing up to 7,500kg or 7.5 tonnes).

In short, you can drive any of our motorhomes on a car licence. You can operate all our vehicles with a standard Category B licence because they all weigh under 3.5 tonnes. 

Drivers who wish to operate motorhomes over 7.5 tonnes will face significantly more challenges as they age.

After celebrating your 70th birthday…

Once you have reached 70, congratulations! If you want to stay on the road, you must renew your Category B driving licence. This is simply to ensure that you are not experiencing any health conditions that might affect your ability to drive. 

If you previously held a Category C licence before your 70th birthday, this will be suspended until you have passed a medical examination. This means that you will not be able to operate motorhomes that weigh between 3.6-7.5 tonnes. 

You will get this qualification back once your GP conducts a medical exam and fills out a D4 form. This allows your doctor to rule out several vision disorders that would reduce your ability to drive heavy vehicles.