Before you go out and buy that motorhome you’ve always dreamed of, you need to ensure that you’ll be able to legally drive it. Things get a little more complicated when you hit 70, due to the requirement to renew your licence. We’re here to clear everything up.
If you’ve already bought your motorhome or are approaching the big ‘seven zero’ and haven’t checked the legal bits, we’ll try to provide you with a solution that will ensure you’ll still be able to get out there on the open road and enjoy your motorhome adventures for many years to come.
So, with your driving licence at the ready, let’s delve into the law surrounding driving a motorhome.
When did you pass your driving test?
As motorhomes are larger than your average car they require a special licence in order to drive them.
As the Gov.uk website states, the type of licence you need will depend on how old you are and the motorhome’s Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), which means the vehicle’s weight plus the maximum load it can carry.
There’s an easy step-by-step guide on the Government’s website that helps you work out which type of licence you’ll need.
You just need to remember when you passed your driving test (before or after January 1997).
If you passed your test before 1st January 1997, you will automatically have category C1 entitlement on your licence, allowing you to drive vehicles up to 7,500kg, which normally covers all but the largest American RV-style motorhomes.
If you passed your test after 1st January 1997 you will only have B and B1 entitlement on your licence, which allows you to drive a vehicle up to 3,500kg and tow a trailer up to 750kg behind it.
Motorhome manufacturers now try to stick within this weight class so that those drivers who passed their test post-1997 can still buy and drive their vehicles.
What to do if you want to drive a larger motorhome
If you want to drive a larger motorhome (up to 7,500kg) but don’t have the entitlement on your licence, you can take an additional driving test to add the C1 category to your licence.
In order to begin a C1 training course, you will need to be over the age of 18 and hold a category B driving licence.
Before you can start any form of training, you will need to apply and successfully pass an HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) medical test; this is a legal requirement.
It is up to you who carries out the medical test; it can be your local GP or a private doctor. Regardless, you can expect to have to pay for this service.
During the Driver’s Medical, you will first discuss with the doctor your medical history and whether you have any conditions that may possibly interfere with your driving.
If you fail to state known medical conditions in your form, you are breaking the law.
Next, there will be a physical exam in which factors such as your eyesight will be tested.
As a whole, for both sections, your test shouldn’t last any longer than around half an hour.
You can download your medical examination report form on the GOV.UK website, which will include all information on how to submit your form.
Once you have passed your medical tests and have been approved by the DVLA, you will need to apply for a provisional C1 licence.
This is done using a D2 application form and includes all of the same information that you would have had to fill out when applying for your original provisional licence.
Finally, you’re in a position to be able to take a C1 training course – at the end of which there will be an hour-long exam, in which your examiner will assess your skills against the same criteria that you would have done so in your initial driving test.
When you reach 70 years of age
As we’ve already touched on, when you hit 70 there’s a requirement to renew your driving licence – and then you must renew it every three years after that.
As long as you meet the minimum eyesight requirement and aren’t prevented from driving for any reason, renewal should be reasonably straightforward.
However, you’ll need to declare any medical condition or disability that could affect your driving to the DVLA.
The DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday. To renew, fill in the form and return it to the DVLA with your current driving licence photocard.
You may also need to include a new passport-type photo – the form will tell you if you need to do this.
If you apply by post it can take up to three weeks. You can also renew your licence using the GOV.UK website.
You'll have to register and you'll be given step-by-step instructions on how to renew.
After you’ve told the DVLA, it may:
- make a decision based on the information you provide
- contact your GP or consultant (with your permission) or arrange for a local doctor or specialist to examine you
- ask you to take a driving assessment, eyesight test or driving appraisal.
As long as the DVLA is happy you can continue to drive your vehicle safely, it’ll be a case of as you were once your licence has been renewed.
However, if you use the standard renewal procedure you will lose your C1 entitlement and you will no longer be able to drive motorhomes between 3,500kg and 7,500kg.
To avoid this, ask your GP or a private doctor to fill in a medical report form D4.
Protect your investment with motorhome insurance
Once you’ve got any licence issues sorted, protect yourself, your motorhome and its content with the right motorhome insurance.
You’ll want to relax while you’re exploring amazing new places, both in this country and further afield, so it’s good to know you’re protected if the unexpected does happen.
Here at Motorhome Protect, we can compare motorhome insurance quotes to find you the best coverage for you and your circumstances.
Cover through us can include things like:
- Unlimited cover across the EU
- Up to 6 months to complete a restoration
- Discounts for club members
Protect your new home on wheels today by getting a quick quote from the specialists at Motorhome Protect.