What do I need to drive a Skoolie?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What do I need to drive a Skoolie? We will also offer you an in-depth guide on how to safely drive a Skoolie. 

​​What do I need to drive a Skoolie?

If your Skoolie is registered for recreational use, meaning you are using it for personal reasons, you may or may not need a special licence to drive it, depending on the weight of your converted bus and your state of origin. 

As long as your trip is non-commercial, here are the license requirements for each state with your Skoolie, once registered as an RV:

StateLicence Requirements for driving a Skoolie
AlabamaNo special licence required
AlaskaNo special licence required
ArizonaNo special licence required
ArkansasCDL for vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or more.
CaliforniaClass B license for vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or more and for RVS with a length of over 40 feet.

Class A license to tow anything more than 10,000 lbs.
ColoradoNo special licence required
ConnecticutClass B CDL for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs. 
Class A CDL for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.
DelawareNo special licence required
District of ColumbiaNo special licence required
FloridaNo special licence required
GeorgiaNo special licence required
HawaiiClass B CDL for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs. 
Class A CDL for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.
IdahoNo special licence required
IllinoisNo special licence required
IndianaNo special licence required
IowaNo special licence required
KansasClass B CDL for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs. 
Class A CDL for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.
KentuckyNo special licence required
LouisianaNo special licence required
MaineNo special licence required
MarylandClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.
MassachusettsNo special licence required
MichiganNo special licence required
MinnesotaNo special licence required
MississippiNo special licence required
MissouriNo special licence required
MontanaNo special licence required
NebraskaNo special licence required
NevadaClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Class A license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.  
If towing a vehicle that is more than 10,000 lbs you need to get a special J endorsement.
New HampshireNo special licence required
New JerseyNo special licence required
New MexicoClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Class A license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.  
New YorkR endorsement for vehicles over 26,000 lbs.
North CarolinaClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Class A license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.  
North DakotaNo special licence required
OhioNo special licence required
OklahomaNo special licence required
OregonNo special licence required
PennsylvaniaClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Class A license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.  
Rhode IslandNo special licence required
South CarolinaClass E license for vehicles over 26,000 lbs. 
Class F license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.
South DakotaNo special licence required
TennesseeNo special licence required
TexasClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Class A license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.  
UtahNo special licence required
VermontNo special licence required
VirginiaNo special licence required
WashingtonNo special licence required
West VirginiaNo special licence required
WisconsinYou need a CDL for vehicles longer than 45 feet.
WyomingClass B license for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Class A license for vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs.  

What do I need to know to drive a Skoolie?

Driving a Skoolie is not as hard as it may seem, but you do need to be prepared. Here are a few, but essential tips on driving a Skoolie:

  • Let’s start with the driving position. As soon as you sit down you notice the first difference, we are much taller than normal vehicles, and this allows us to have greater visibility. You will also notice that the exterior mirrors are much larger and … one is missing, the central one (or if there is one, it is practically useless).

The first thing to do is to adjust the driving position according to our height and build. Not forgetting the steering wheel, which is more horizontal than a car, a bit like a truck. Spend some time adjusting the exterior mirrors. To drive a Skoolie it is essential that they are in the correct position, they will help you in driving but above all in manoeuvres.

  • Once you have found the correct position, adjust the mirrors and the steering wheel, before leaving, take some time to study the vehicle.

Once you have memorized the dimensions (height, width, length and weight), try to understand the operation of all the onboard equipment, from simple headlights to air conditioning as well as that typical equipment only for Skoolies.

  • Before departure, however, you must:
  • close all windows and portholes of the vehicle (apart from the driver’s cabin windows);
  • close the gas bottle valve;
  • open all curtains and mosquito nets;
  • close any external curtain;
  • close the access steps;
  • raise any stabilizers present;
  • turn off any external lights that are not provided for by the highway code.
  • In addition, all passengers must be seated and with their belts fastened, while driving you cannot wander around a camper, for any reason.
  • Before leaving, then, carefully arrange all the tools and luggage to avoid possible falls while driving on the road.
  • While driving, you must pay attention to all the signs, especially those that we generally ignore, those inherent to the various dimensional prohibitions, both for height and width, but also for weight.
  • The curves must be faced gently and taken a little wide. In fact, the Skoolie has a long wheelbase (the distance between the two front and rear axles) and this could lead, if you take too tight curves, to touch the rear area.
  • Pay attention to the height and unmarked obstacles, for example, some branches or a protruding balcony that could damage the vehicle, especially the roof.
  • Finally, it should be considered that the Skoolie is very heavy and does not have the same acceleration as a car. So a simple overtaking or an exit from an intersection must be undertaken thinking that more space is needed to carry out the manoeuvre.

Skoolie parking and manoeuvres

When manoeuvring a Skoolie, especially the first few times, to get help from someone who travels with you, it is the best way to learn to familiarize yourself with the dimensions of the school bus.

When parking, before starting the manoeuvre, think about how you will get out of that parking lot, in fact, it can often be easy to park but then difficult to get out.

But first, check if you can park the Skoolie, it seems obvious as the bus is in effect like a car, but there are often ordinances created to not allow RVs to park. Then check if the parking payment is the same for cars and RVs. Sometimes it can happen that campers pay more or that they do not pay for the parking as they have dedicated parking spaces.

Finally, it is not said that parking is allowed for the whole day, there are RV parks with a ban on parking at certain times, especially to prevent overnight camping. When parking, if camping is prohibited but parking is permitted, windows, portholes, external awning and ladders must remain closed. Furthermore, you cannot even turn on the heating or hot water, to avoid the presence of drains. As you will not be able to use wedges or stabilizers.

The last check to be made, and unfortunately, this is the most difficult due to the length of these vehicles, is that the Skoolie is within the lines otherwise you could incur some fines.

Last tips for driving a Skoolie

A Skoolie is generally driven with a B license, but some larger models can exceed 26,000 lbs. For these models, a CDL becomes necessary, when you rent the vehicle always ask for the license necessary to drive it!

Also note that in the case of very large and heavy campers and Skoolie, in addition to the driving license, they are also subject to other regulations, such as lower motorway speed limits.

If you then go abroad, check for any road regulations to which these vehicles may be subject in the state you will be passing through.

Do you have more questions on how to drive a Skoolie? Let us know!

References