What is a motorhome?
Strangely enough, the term motorhome has no legal definition in the UK, where the law describes such vehicles as motor caravans, explains the website UK Motorhomes.
The website goes on to the describe the – somewhat convoluted – categorisation of the motor caravan under the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) standards which sets out detailed requirements for a Category M1 vehicle with living accommodation.
What licence do I need to drive a motorhome?
Whatever its formal legal status, the motorhome is nevertheless clearly recognised by UK regulations when it comes to the licence requirements for driving one.
The relevant pages of the government website clearly refer to motorhomes and explain that your eligibility to drive such vehicles depends on your age and the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the motorhome – namely, the weight of the vehicle and its maximum permitted load.
If the MAM exceeds 3.5 tonnes but is less than 7.5 tonnes, you need a Category C licence; for a motorhome with a MAM heavier than 7.5 tonnes, you need a Category C1 licence and currently need to be over the age of 21 to qualify for one.
How can I find out my motorhome’s MAM?
It is easy enough to find out the MAM since it is the first of the weights listed on your motorhome’s VIN plate or Vehicle Identification Number. If you have difficulty locating the VIN plate, your motorhome supplier can point it out.
Though finding out the weight is easy, knowing when you are below the maximum authorised limit may be more difficult, especially if you have just acquired your motorhome or are new to the pastime and uncertain what all the kit you want to pack is likely to weigh.
As part of the learning curve, therefore, there is little option but to load your motorhome with what you consider to be a normal amount of kit and equipment and take it to your local public weighbridge – to find it, just enter your postcode into the search engine.
What are the speed limits for my motorhome?
Unfortunately, it is yet another weight limit which determines the speed limits which generally apply to your motorhome. The weight in question is the Unladen Weight of your motorhome (that is, the manufacturer’s recorded weight of the vehicle, including its fittings as it left the factory).
If the Unladen Weight is less than 3,050 kilograms, the same speed limits apply as to cars – namely, 60 mph on single carriageways, and 70 mph on dual carriageways and motorways (falling to 50 mph and 60 mph respectively, if you are also towing a trailer).
If the Unladen Weight of your motorhome is over 3,050 kilograms, you are restricted to a maximum speed of 50 mph on single carriageways, 60 mph on dual carriageways and 70 mph on motorways.
If you are towing a trailer, the applicable limits are 50 mph on single carriageways and 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways.
Where can I park my motorhome?
If you find yourself between purpose-designed campsites and are tempted to park overnight in a public carpark, the National Caravan Council (NCC) warns that even those that allow parking overnight might nevertheless ban sleeping in your motorhome. Most motorway service areas these days also have restricted parking times.