Those who are considering the hippie and free spirit lifestyle frequently bombard us with the question “do you need a special license to drive an RV?”.
Unfortunately, there’s no absolute answer to this issue.
Each state here in the United States conforms to specific and separate set of guidelines and rules regarding licensing of motorhomes. Hence, this post will focus on giving you substantial information guide you regarding the special license required to operate your motorhome.
What Is A Commercial Driver’s License Or CDL?
A non-commercial license is what you need to present to operate a car. Conversely, a commercial license (or CDL) is what you need to secure for running commercial vehicles.
Some say people with RVs need a CDL to operate it. Some say you don’t. So, what’s a CDL for?
As the name suggests, CDLs are intended for commercial vehicles. Buses, shuttles, and other commercial vehicle drivers need a CDL. If you drive around your RV for a living, you’ll certainly need a CDL. Otherwise, you don’t.
However, select states may not ask for a CDL, rather, they’ll ask RV drivers to present either a noncommercial Class A or B license.
What Are Non-commercial Class A Or Class B Licenses?
Some states require a noncommercial class B license for operating a Class A or C motorhome. It all boils down to the RV’s weight.
Class A licenses are issued to combination vehicles that have a total weight of more than 26,001 lbs. If your vehicle is less than the specific weight yet the trailer it’s towing adds up to this weight, you’ll most certainly be asked for a Class A license.
On the other hand, some states require drivers to present a Class B license if their single vehicles exceed the 26,001 lbs-mark.
What License Should You Secure If You Have A Small Trailer Or Motorhome?
In many cases, you won’t need any special license if you own a small trailer or motorhome. Small RVs rarely weigh up to 26,001 lbs anyway.
In a nutshell, RV licensing will depend on the state you’re in or plan travelling to. For instance, non-commercial class B licenses are required for most states, whereas CDLs are required for a select few.
To further help you out with the licensing, below is a table specifying what kind of license each American state requires.
|California||Non-commercial Class B License (if over 26K lb)|
|Maryland||Non-commercial Class B License (if over 26K lb)|
|Michigan||Non-commercial Class B License (if over 26K lb)|
|North Carolina||Non-commercial Class B License (for single vehicles over 26K lb); Non-commercial Class A License (combination of vehicles over 26K lb)|
|New Mexico||Non-commercial Class B License (for single vehicles over 26K lb); Non-commercial Class A License (combination of vehicles over 26K lb)|
|Nevada||Non-commercial Class B License (for single vehicles over 26K lb); Non-commercial Class A License (combination of vehicles over 26K lb)|
|Texas||Non-commercial Class B License (if over 26K lb)|
|Illinois||Non-commercial Class B License (if over 16K lb)|
Getting A Driver’s License
If you’re new to driving or you’re in the planning stage of purchasing your first car, the first step is to apply for a driver’s license.
Here’s a refresher of the requirements and tasks everyone should accomplish to get their driver’s license.
- Social security number (SSS) or Individual tax identification number (ITIN)
- Passport or other proof of identity
- Proof of residence in a particular state
- Passport photo
- Written test
Once you’re confident enough with your knowledge on driving, go to your nearest DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office and take the written examination.
Aim for all the correct answers to pass the test. Once you’ve passed it, you’ll be given a permit to learn driving, provided that a licensed driver is seated next to you.
It’s best to enroll at a driving school or hire a private teacher to teach you how to drive. Driving lessons teach you the basic of driving, how to drive properly, and the rules in driving and parking.
Go to the DMV with your learner’s permit. You will be allowed to use a functioning car to check your driving skills. After the test, the inspector will immediately point out your mistakes and explain them to you.
If you pass the test, you’ll be given a vision test next. You’ll be asked to read specific letters or lines to assess the clarity of your vision. If you pass this final step, you are now eligible to have your driver’s license. Congratulations!
Driving A Motorhome/RV
Do you own an RV? Perhaps you’re fed up of hearing people ask if it’s hard to drive since it’s fairly big. The answer is, it’s not that difficult to drive an RV. In fact, it’s just like operating a car, though it’s different because of the RV’s size.
It’s only intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, you’re ready to go anywhere.
Learn how to drive an RV in the video clip below.
Again, you may or may not need a special license to drive an RV. For small RVs and motorhomes, you just have to present your driver’s license, but for Class A or B motorhomes, you’ll need to obtain certain licenses in compliance with the state you’re in. Learn more in our camping pro tips section.
Hey, camper! Did we answer your question? Is everything clearer to you now? For queries, just hit the comments section below! Don’t forget to share this post. Cheers!
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