Do I Need a Special License to Drive a Winnebago?

Do I Need a Special License to Drive a Winnebago?
Learn how laws vary depending on your type of RV and where you will be driving it.
By: GoLife Staff

Winnebago Journey driving on bridge

One of the top questions we get from prospective RVers is if a special license will be needed to drive their Winnebago. For most RV types, the answer is no. However, larger motorhomes and travel trailers may require a special license. Laws also vary from state to state.

We’ll share some of the basics around special licenses for RVers here, but please be sure to always confirm requirements with your local DMV before purchasing or renting an RV.

Types of RVs that Require a Special License

In general, you should not need a special license to drive an RV if it weighs less than 26,000 pounds. In some states, towed vehicles over 10,000 pounds will also need a license endorsement.

All Class B and C motorhomes are unlikely to go over this weight, as well as the majority of Class As and towables. RVs that are more likely to require a special license are the largest Class As and some large towables. 

A few states do have length limits as well, mostly noting rules for RVs over 40 feet. 

What Kind of Additional License Would Be Needed for an RV?

If you do happen to need a special license to drive your RV, many states require a non-commercial special license or a specific endorsement, while others require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). 

Receiving a special license is similar to the process of first getting your normal driver’s license, but often much easier! In most cases, you will take an online knowledge test as well as a driving skills test. However, this varies by state and license. For example, you may only need to take an online test.

For a more in-depth look at the process, here is an example of getting a special license for an RV in Texas.

Differences in State Licensing Rules for RVs

State laws regarding special licenses for RVs exceeding a certain weight vary widely. It is important to research the specific laws for the state you will be registering your RV in since requirements may change. Be sure to contact the DMV if you have any questions.

Two hands on steering wheel driving through mountains

For those wanting to travel around the U.S., you will be happy to note that most states do have a reciprocity agreement when it comes to special licenses, but it is important to check before your trip if you are in a larger RV since these agreements can vary. 

If traveling into Canada, the U.S. does have a reciprocity agreement with our northern neighbors allowing CDLs to be recognized there as well.

States with Special Licensing Laws for Larger RVs

States Where a Non-Commercial Special Driver’s License is Required: California, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wyoming.

States Where a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is Required: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin.

For a detailed list of state-specific RV special license requirements, click here.

Final Thoughts on RV Special Licenses

Unless you have a very large RV, you likely won't need a special license. However, if you are nervous about driving a larger vehicle, there are RV driving schools available and resources with tips on how to drive a motorhome or travel trailer safely.

Here are some RV driving resources to get you started:

We hope this article provided some helpful insights. Safe travels!


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