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Using a Van for Small Jobs, Here and There? Four Rules & Regulations Drivers Must Know Before Getting Behind the Wheel

There are some jobs in life that our cars simply can’t cover. Whether it’s moving a larger quantity of materials than usual for a job, or finally getting rid of stock or the rubbish in your backroom you’ve had for ages, it just makes it so much easier. As such, you might be tempted to step into a van for a one-off job. 

But did you know that there are rules to driving vans that, if disobeyed, could see you fined upwards of £2,500 in addition to points on your licence?

If you’re a new van driver, its important to understand that there are laws put in place by the government on driving vans, specifically. With some insights from van leasing company, Van Ninja we’ll go through the rules and regulations you need to know before you go through the process of van leasing and driving on the road.

  • Does your licence have you covered?

Depending on when you passed your driving test and when your licence was issued will determine the weight of the van you can drive. All standard car driving licences mean that you can drive a van that weighs up to 3,500kg. Driving without the correct licence type for your van could result in a maximum fine of £1,000 and you could receive three to six penalty points.

To drive vehicles weighing over 3,500kg and up to 7,500kg, or to tow a trailer with your van, extra tests may be required. You can add higher category entitlements to your licence by firstly passing your car (B) driving test. Once you know which category your chosen vehicle falls under, you can get a provisional entitlement for the category and pass the test for the new category for full entitlement.

  • Driving hours

Not only are there rules surrounding what vehicle you can legally drive, there are rules around when you can drive a van and how long for. The length of time that you can spend on the road depends on several factors, but for vans and light commercial vehicles that don’t exceed 35,000 tonnes domestic rules state you can only drive for a total of 10 hours a day.

If you have to drive a van for a particular job at work and it requires more than 4 hours on the road, this also comes with the note that you cannot exceed the daily duty limit of 11 hours towards work for your employer. A day is defined as 24 hours from when your shift starts, and driving is included in the duty time while rests and breaks are not. Failing to adhere to driving hour regulations can result in a fine of up to £300.

  • Speed limits for vans

That’s right, not only are you limited on how long you can drive in a single day, but you’re also restricted on how fast you can travel in your vehicle as well. While you’re still able to drive the same miles per hour limit of 30 in built-up areas, on both single- and dual-carriageways your top speed is reduced by 10mph.

This means that your top speeds on these roads will be 50mph and 60mph respectively, while you can still drive at a top speed of 70mph on motorways. But if your van is also towing a trailer, your motorway top speed is also brought down to 60mph. These limits don’t apply if you’re driving a car-type van, but if you don’t abide by them in traditional vans, they could fetch you a fine of £1,000. This also rockets to £2,500 for motorway offences and could result in three to six penalty points, so keep an eye on your speedometer!

  • Van weight and loading limits

Having a van means you can load it up with as much as I want, right? This isn’t true; your van has a limit to the maximum amount it can weigh in total known as the ‘design gross weight’. The total includes the driver, fuel, load, and the weight of your van itself. This can be found through your van’s vehicle identification number (VIN) plate. GOV.uk also has a service that helps you find your local weighbridge so you can see how much it weighs.

Making sure your van isn’t overloaded is also important not just for safety, but also for performance. Load your vehicle evenly with the items that weigh the most at the bottom, while securing them all in place appropriately and not overloading individual axles can avoid a potential £300 fine and even a court summons. 

There are of course other rules and regulations that come with driving vans that are the same as with any other vehicle. Making sure you’re aware of the Highway Code and any changes that may be introduced is crucial to ensuring that you’re driving safely and legally.