Guide to van speed limits

Speed limits were first introduced in the UK in 1861 under the Locomotives on Highways Act, with the first speed limits being 10mph, later decreasing to just 4mph.


Nowadays, most drivers are taught to remember three particular speeds:

Area/road type Speed (mph)
Built-up/residential 30
Country Roads/Single Carriageways 60
Dual Carriageways/Motorways 70

However, there are some exceptions to these rules, particularly if you drive a larger van. If you’re not sure what category your van falls under, here’s a quick summary.

A guide to van types

There are many different van types, all of which follow different speed limits so it’s important to make sure you know which one you’re driving!

Car-derived vans
Car-derived vans simply act as a vehicle to get from A to B, without exceeding a weight of 2 tonnes at full capacity.

They can be confusing to identify as they often have the appearance of a car with blocked out back windows, as is the case with Vauxhall’s Corsavan.

Dual-purpose vans
A dual-purpose vehicle shouldn’t weigh any more than 2,040kg unladen. As they are generally larger in size and often heavier in weight, they sometimes have lower speed limits.

There can be some confusion over what is what with this type so be sure to check your log book or V5C document for details of this.

Pickup trucks
Pickup trucks are usually considered to be dual-purpose, in which case they follow the same speed-limits set for cars. There are some exceptions where van speed limits should be followed.

Combi/Double-cab vans
Combi vans are usually used to carry people and large volumes of goods/baggage, and may take the form of a Renault Trafic or a Peugeot Expert.

In most cases, these vans are classed as dual-purpose and stick to car speed limits, so be prepared to explain this to anyone who may challenge you on it.

Camper vans
In terms of camper vans, only the Volkswagen California and the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo are sold in the UK. While they are usually treated as a regular car with regards to speed limits, if your van’s document does not read ‘motor caravan’ then you may be required to stick to van speed limits instead.


Van speed limits UK and Wales

These are the general rules for vans of these types, however be sure to check the plated weight of your van if you are unsure, and never ignore signage dictating variable or fixed speed limits.

Road type Car-derived / dual-purpose vehicles / camper vans Other vans (not exceeding 7.5 tonnes) Trailers / Lorries & other goods vehicles (7.5+ tonnes)
Built-up areas (mph) 30 30 30
Single Carriageways (mph) 60 50 50
Dual Carriageways (mph) 70 60 60
Motorways (mph) 70 70 60

If towing a trailer or caravan, you should minus 10mph from the above speed limits (with the exception of built-up areas).

Van speed limits Scotland and Northern Ireland

Road type Car-derived / Dual-purpose vehicles / Camper vans Other vans (not exceeding 7.5 tonnes) Trailers / Lorries & other goods vehicles (7.5+ tonnes)
Built-up areas (mph) 30 30 30
Single Carriageways (mph) 60 50 40
Dual Carriageways (mph) 70 60 50
Motorways (mph) 70 70 60

Speeding offences for vans

Generally, speeding offences are considered worse for vans and larger vehicles due to their heavier weight and their increased danger threat.

Just like speed limits, the fines for speeding in vans also vary, with the maximum fines limited to £2,500 on motorways and £1,000 on other roads.

Speeding offences are classified into 3 bands depending on their severity:

Band A B C
Max amount (% of weekly salary) 25-75 75-125 125-175
Additional fines/charges 3 points on licence 4-6 points on licence OR driving ban (between 7-28 days) 6 points on licence OR driving ban (7-56 days)*
Example of banded offence Travelling 31-40mph in a 30mph zone (1-10mph over speed limit) Travelling 41-50mph in a 30mph zone (11-20mph over speed limit) Travelling 51mph+ in a 30mph zone (21+mph over speed limit)

*In the event that the speeding incident is considered to be exceedingly over the limit, a driving ban of over 56 days may be implemented.

Other factors may also play into how the severity is calculated, including how many people were in the vehicle, the weather, or the number of pedestrians around.

There are a lot of things that affect the cost of your van insurance premium and speeding offences are highly likely to lead to increases, so if you want to keep your premium low, always stick to the speed limit!

To avoid breaking speed limits, always refer to the log book and plated weight of your van before setting out on your journey and check GOV.UK for full breakdown of UK speed limits.