Handling your motorhome with confidence!
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If you’re thinking about purchasing your first motorhome, there are many things to consider. Motorhomes are large vehicles and therefore provide a driving experience that’s very different to that of a car.
Once you’ve decided to go for a motorhome - or perhaps before you make the final decision - why not take a little time to explore and even experience the practicalities of owning, driving and manoeuvring a motorhome?
Putting in some research time prior to purchase is sure to be worth your while; if you’ve had a go at driving and parking a motorhome - and maybe even spent a few days in one - there will be no surprises!
It might even give you a bit more insight into what size motorhome will best suit your preferences and needs. The last thing you want to do is buy a motorhome that isn’t right and needs part exchanging soon after.
Take a test drive or two!
Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few models that you’re seriously considering, be sure to take each of them on a test drive. They’ll all drive and handle differently and how you feel behind the wheel could help you make the final decision on which one to go for. At Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes, we stock a range of pre-owned motorhomes from various manufacturers as well as new Bailey motorhomes, and we’re happy to advise you on anything you’d like assistance with, so be sure to pick our brains!
Consider a rental
Did you know that you can rent out motorhomes? You could rent one for a few days or even a week to experience first-hand what having a motorhome is like! This would not only give you a fantastic opportunity to give the motorhoming lifestyle a trial run, but it’d also provide an insight into what size might best suit you. Perhaps a two berth is too compact for you and your partner, or a six berth is simply too big to handle! Try before you buy… Google ‘motorhome rentals’ to find providers in your area such as goboony.co.uk.
Motorhome manoeuvring course
The Caravan and Motorhome Club offers a six-hour Motorhome Manoeuvring Course. This course is ideal for anyone new to motorhomes and will also provide a great refresher to those who haven’t driven one for a while. It’s a great way to build your confidence and it’ll teach you all you need to know about handling and manoeuvring a motorhome.
The training will be conducted in your own motorhome and will cover:
The principles of driving a larger vehicle
Manoeuvring an outfit forward and backwards
Simple maintenance information
Straightforward safety checks
The laws affecting motorhome drivers
Feedback from the one-to-one on-road session
This course is offered in 15 locations in England and one in Wales, with more locations coming soon. The nearest one to us is held at Sparsholt College, Winchester.
Frequently-asked motorhome questions…
Can I drive a motorhome on a standard driving licence?
Yes - the standard driving licence issued to drivers who have passed their test since January 1997 covers categories B, B1 and BE, which enables you to drive a motorhome up to 3,500kg. Most new motorhomes of today are built with a Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) of 3,500kg to ensure they can be driven by all drivers. If your motorhome weighs over 3,500kg you’ll need a category C1 licence - find out more here.
What sizes do motorhomes come in?
Motorhomes being registered in the UK cannot be more than 12 metres long and 2.55 metres wide. There are three main types of motorhome: A-Class, Coachbuilt and Campervan; which vary in size.
A-Class motorhomes tend to be top-of-the-range, purpose-built motorhomes, with no join between the cab and the habitation. Size-wise, the average length is around 10m, the width 2.5m and the height 4m.
Coachbuilt motorhomes encompass super low profile, low profile and over cab motorhomes. These are referred to as Coachbuilt as the cab and the rear habitation are built separately. The main difference between low profile and over cab models is that over cab motorhomes tend to have a big bed over the cab, offering additional sleeping space, which is ideal for kids.
Over cabs are often bigger and heavier than 3,500kg, but if you passed your driving test before January 1997 you can drive vehicles up to 7,500kg. If you passed post-1997, find out more about adding categories to your licence…
Low profiles have a sleeker design than over cabs, making them more fuel efficient. They’re also lighter, usually under 3,500kg. Low profiles vary in length and are normally between 5.5m and 8m. Widths also vary from 2.1m to 2.49m, but if you’re planning on countryside travels, try to go for one on the slimmer side.
Campervans come in two sizes, the large size, which offers a washroom and more living space, and the more modest VW Camper, which is much more compact and offers beds and a kitchenette.
Is the number of berths the same as the number of seat belts?
No, not always. Most motorhomes can sleep between 2 and 6 people, but it’s worth noting that not all motorhome berths marry up with the number of seatbelts. For example, you might find a 6-berth motorhome, but it may only have 4 seatbelts. If you’re a family of 5 or 6, this could make using the motorhome difficult if you can’t transport everyone that you need to within it.
Lower seat belt vehicles are great if friends or grandkids are being dropped off to stay over, but if you’re all planning to travel together, be sure to choose a motorhome that has enough seatbelts for your whole party.
What motorhome accessories are useful?
Once you’ve decided to purchase a motorhome, there are several accessories that could prove useful! If you’re interested in installing a reversing camera to your motorhome to make parking and manoeuvring a little easier, please get in touch as we can help you get one sorted through one of our approved partners.
We also stock levelling devices in our accessory shop as well as sat navs, which can be added to any motorhome that doesn’t have one fitted as standard.
Give us a call on 01962 714844 for more information on all things motorhome or contact us via email/contact form!
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