Ford vans sponsor image desktop

In association with Ford Pro

What is the speed limit for a van?

Most commercial vehicles are subject to lower speed limits than cars. Here's which apply to your vehicle...

Ford Transit Custom front cornering

It’s no surprise that speed limits can differ depending on what you’re driving – being stuck behind lorries overtaking each other is an experience that many drivers can relate to.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find yourself stuck behind a slow-moving van, you might be surprised to learn that many vans, as well as all towing vehicles and even some pick-up trucks, are supposed to be driven in accordance with lower speed limits than cars.

It’s essential to know whether you should be obeying lower speed limits in your van or any other type of vehicle, because the penalties for not doing so can be severe.

Here we're looking at each of the many categories working vehicles fall into, and the various speed limits that apply to them on different types of roads.

Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles

Isuzu D-Max 2022 front right tracking off road

Built-up areas 30mph
Single carriageways 60mph
Dual carriageways 70mph
Motorways 70mph

These are the various national speed limits you should have been taught while learning to drive a car. The rules extend beyond passenger cars and motorcycles, to include the following:

Car-derived vans – these must be based on the underpinnings of a car, and designed to weigh no more than 2000kg when fully laden. They are typically two-seater commercial versions of regular cars, and include the Ford Fiesta Van and Dacia Duster Commercial. Older vans such as the Citroën Nemo may qualify as car-derived vans too.

Dual-purpose vehicles – this category typically includes some combi vans, double-cab small vans such as the Ford Transit Connect Crew Van and double-cab pick-up trucks such as the Isuzu D-Max. Dual-purpose vehicles must weigh less than 2040kg when unladen.

The criteria for both categories are very specific, so it’s important to check whether your vehicle is classed as a car-derived van or a dual-purpose vehicle by reading the V5C registration document, or by asking the dealer if you’ve yet to buy the vehicle.

Another complication to note – larger van-based MPVs such as the Volkswagen Multivan, Volkswagen ID Buzz and Ford Tourneo Custom are actually classed as passenger vehicles rather than vans. This means that they are allowed to travel at the above speeds despite their van-like appearances.

Vans with a maximum laden weight up to 7.5 tonnes

Ford E-Transit 2022 front right tracking

Built-up areas 30mph
Single carriageways 50mph
Dual carriageways 60mph
Motorways 70mph

These speed limits apply mostly to medium vans such as the Ford Transit Custom and large vans such as the VW Crafter as well as commercial goods vehicles that don’t fit into any of the above categories.

Some pick-up trucks – including the popular Ford Ranger – fit into this category too, either due to their weight or an absence of rear seats.

These rules also cover motorhomes with a maximum laden weight of up to 7.5 tonnes that are used as a workshop, for storage or to carry goods for exhibition and sale. Separate rules for motorhome speed limits apply when a motorhome is being used purely for leisure.

Buses, coaches and minibuses

Ford Transit minibus

Built-up areas 30mph
Single carriageways 50mph
Dual carriageways 60mph
Motorways 70mph (if vehicle length is 12 metres or less)

Vehicles of this type must also obey lower speed limits on single and dual carriageways. Buses, coaches and minibuses that are more than 12 metres long are limited to 60mph on a motorway.

As is the case with HGVs, vehicles that can carry more than eight people must be fitted with a speed limiter, but the driver still bears full responsibility if they are caught speeding.


tow bar

Built-up areas 30mph
Single carriageways 50mph
Dual carriageways 60mph
Motorways 60mph

If you’re driving an articulated vehicle or towing a trailer, the above limits apply regardless of the size of vehicle you're driving. The aim is to reduce the risk of you losing control of the trailer, as well as giving you longer to react if it starts to sway.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more van reviews and advice >>

Also consider