Do you know the difference between a Category B and a Category C1 on your licence? Read our latest blog to find out whether you can actually drive a campervan on your current licence.
Before you go ahead and purchase the campervan (or motorhome) of your dreams, you need to check that you can actually drive it. While yes, you can probably get behind the wheel, put the clutch in, and drive off, you could be driving it illegally if you don’t have the right licence.
Today, we answer the question of what licence requirements you’ll need to be able to drive your campervan of dreams, no matter how big it is!
How Do I Know If I Can Drive a Campervan?
Essentially, how heavy is the campervan and how old are you? The answers to these two questions are your first hurdle to overcome.
The weight of your campervan is the MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass), also called Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight.
MAM is the maximum weight that your vehicle can carry safely when on the road. You can find the MAM of any vehicle by either looking in the owner’s manual, or by checking inside the vehicle, as most vehicles will have it stamped on a metal plate or sticker somewhere on the chassis.
Then, your age is important because if you passed your test before 1st January 1997, there will be different allowances of what MAM you can drive compared to those who passed their test on or after January 1st, 1997.
Once you’ve got the answers to these two questions, you can move onto the next step.
What MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) Can I Drive?
If you passed your test before 1st January 1997, then you can drive a Category B (smaller campervans and cars) vehicle and trailer combination of up to 8,250 kg MAM. You’ll also automatically have Category C1 (vehicles between 3,500kg and 7,500kg MAM) on your licence. This will cover you for pretty much every campervan or motorhome commonly available on UK roads, aside from the American RV style motorhomes.
If you passed your test on or after the 1st January 1997, then you’ll be able to drive Category B vehicle and trailer combination up to 3,500kg MAM. This should cover you for smaller campervans and motorhomes. The heaviest T6 currently available is 3,200kg MAM, so you’ll be ok with VWs. However, if you want to drive anything larger like Mercedes Sprinters, you’ll inevitably need to get your Category C1, which those who passed before 1997 have automatically.
The change had to be made at some point as vehicles got larger and more advanced, and driving tests changed to accommodate newer styles of driving.
What’s the difference between Category B and Category C1?
Category Bs are four wheeled vehicles up to a certain weight. It’s what most people would drive on a day-to-day basis for social, domestic, pleasure and commuting purposes.
Category C1 can be thought of as entry level HGV vehicles or specialist work vans. If you’re wanting to drive larger vehicles for work, then you may want to get your C1 if you haven’t already.
Should I Get My Category C Licence for My Campervan or Motorhome?
Category C is for vehicles over 3,500kg with no upper limit. If you’re planning to get an American RV at some point, or drive lorries or buses for work, then you may want to consider getting your Category C. Aside from this, there shouldn’t be a need for you to get your Category C.
So, Can You Drive a Motorhome or Campervan on a Car Licence?
Technically, yes, as long as the campervan or motorhome is under the MAM weight that your licence allows in your Category B section.