Van speed limits

Many van drivers aren’t aware that speed limits for the vast majority of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are lower than passenger cars. In this article, we explain how the law works with regards to van speed limits and what limits your vehicle is restricted to.

Having lower speed for vans makes sense as they often weigh considerably more than passenger cars and have a higher centre of gravity, which means they’re stopping distance distances are greater, they can inflict greater damage on other vehicles – and therefore occupants – in the event of an accident and they’re not as easy to control.

Most vans up to 3.5t GVW, if not mentioned in the exemptions below, are subject to the following speed limits:

  • Built-up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph (10mph less than passenger cars)
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph (10mph less than passenger cars)
  • Motorways: 70mph

Drivers should be aware that the speed limit also drops on the motorway if they are towing.

Van speed limit exemptions

There are a number of light commercial vehicles that are exempt from van speed limits and can legally travel at passenger car speeds (i.e. 10mph faster on single and dual carriageways). The first of these are vans with a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of less than two tonnes, which include car-derived vans (Ford Fiesta Van), some compact vans (Fiat Fiorino) and some older small vans (pre-2012 Vauxhall Combo).

The other exemption is dual purpose vehicles which the Department for Transport (DfT) describes as “a vehicle constructed or adapted for the carriage both of passengers and of goods or burden of any description, being a vehicle of which the unladen weight does not exceed 2040kg”.

This includes vehicles like crew vans (double cab vans) and double cab pickup trucks. Drivers should be aware that some crew vans (i.e. Renault Master crew van) and double cab pickups (i.e. Volkswagen Amarok) exceed the 2,040kg unladen weight and are still therefore subject to the lower limits.

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