Speed Limit Rules for Vans and Commercial Vehicles: What you need to know

Commercial van speed limits

Speed is a major contributing factor in most road accidents. Even driving in fair conditions can be unpredictable, and unexpected hazards can surprise the most experienced of drivers. How fast you’re travelling will be the primary factor to determine whether you can stop in time to prevent an accident, and more critically, reduce the likelihood of fatalities. With that in mind, we look at the commercial van speed limits in the UK.

Van weights

If you’re hiring or borrowing a vehicle that doesn’t exceed two tons when fully loaded, then the van speed limits are the same as for a car:

Built-up areas: 30mph

Single carriageways: 60mph

Dual carriageways: 70mph

Motorways: 70mph

If your van is heavier than two tons, the rules for goods vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tons must be followed:

Built-up areas: 30mph

Single carriageways: 50mph

Dual carriageways: 60mph

Motorways: 70mph

Roughly speaking, the rule of thumb is that vans should travel at 10mph slower than cars. However, if a trailer is being towed, the commercial van speed limits are slightly reduced. On dual carriageways and motorways, your speed should not exceed 60mph, regardless of whether your vehicle is allowed to do 70mph in other circumstances.

Is it worse to speed in a van?

Speeding in a van is more hazardous than in a car for one simple reason: the vehicle’s size and weight. The heavier and larger the vehicle, the more damage it can potentially do in the event of an accident. When announcing the new commercial van speed limits, the UK Sentencing Council confirmed that the type of vehicle will be taken into account when deciding penalties.

There are other factors that would also contribute, including whether the offence took place near a school, in heavy traffic or where there is a high volume of pedestrians.

Is my Satnav reliable for knowing the speed limit?

The databases which power your Satnav may not be up-to-date with recent changes that have been made, so you should always check road signs and your speedometer. More importantly, they don’t take into account what vehicle you’re driving, so might be giving you inaccurate speed limit information.

Tips for staying in the speed limit

Here are our pointers for ensuring you stay with the legal van speed limits:

  • Check your speed regularly, particularly after leaving faster routes
  • Always check the road for speed limit signs
  • Speed limits are a maximum, not an indicator of how fast you should be travelling
  • Go no higher than 3rd gear in a 30mph zone
  • Recognise what makes you speed - keeping up with traffic, overtaking or being tailgated
  • Concentrate
  • Slow down when entering villages
  • Allow plenty of time for your journey

Some vehicles are, of course, fitted with speed limiters to help drivers stay safe on the roads. For help with finding a suitable used van for your business, visit Vanwise Group in Harlow today. Our flexible Contract Hire packages ensure you’ll get a competitive price on your chosen model.