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What's the speed limit for a van in the UK?

In the UK, speed limits are not always the same for vans as they are for cars. This can cause confusion for drivers. Considering fines of up to £2,500 can be issued for speeding, van drivers need to know how fast they can legally drive on UK roads.

Anyone driving a larger vehicle for work will have taken an advanced test so will be aware of the different speed rules. But what if you've hired a van for a few days or drive a small van that looks almost identical to its car counterpart?

Van on a motorway

It's important to know not all speed limit signs will apply to the vehicle you're driving.

Speed limits for vans

Vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes must keep to the following speed limits:

  • 30mph in built-up areas
  • 50mph on single carriageways
  • 60mph on dual carriageways
  • 70mph on motorways

This means that even if the sign on a single carriageway says 60mph or 70mph on a dual carriageway, if you're driving a van you need to drive 10mph slower than that. If you're pulling a trailer behind your van on a motorway, 60mph needs to be your maximum speed.

In some built up areas the speed limit will be reduced for all vehicles like around schools where the speed limit can be 20mph. You should always watch out for new speed limit signs.

Limits for car-derived vans

Car-derived vans (CDVs) look the same as cars but without rear windows or seats. Popular examples include the Vauxhall Corsavan and Ford Fiesta van. These are exempt from van speed limits and drivers can follow national speed limits.

However, the rules for CDVs can become blurry. For example, anyone driving a Citroen Berlingo Multispace can stick to the national speed limit. However, a Citroen Berlingo van, may not be classed as a CDV and be subject to van speed limits.

The speed limit depends on two things. First is the gross vehicle weight (marked on the vehicle's weight plate found on the door sills or under the bonnet). If it's more than 2 tonnes, van speed limits apply.

Second, even if the vehicle is less than 2 tonnes, the V5C registration document will confirm whether the vehicle is classed as a CDV. If not, van speed limits apply.

Limits for pickup trucks

Dual-purpose vehicles (DPVs) are another grey area. These are vehicles that can carry both people and cargo, have side and rear windows, are fitted with two rows of passenger seats, and are either four-wheel drive or have a rigid roof.

Most pickup trucks fall into the DPV category, so qualify for the national speed limit

However, if the vehicle has seating for more than eight passengers or is more than 12 metres long, then the lower van speed limits apply. Again, it is best to check the V5C registration document: if the vehicle is classified either a DPV or CDV, standard speed limits apply.

Limits for large vans

Under EU law, any vehicle that is more than 3.5 tonnes must be fitted with a speed limiting device. This is an advantage for drivers as top speeds are restricted to 56mph, but they will still need to pay attention to their speed in built-up areas and on single carriageways.

Just as you need to take care sticking to speed limits, you also need to take care when choosing an insurance provider. Find out about how you can protect your van with Hastings Direct.

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