Can I drive a van? Everything you need to know

If you are planning on moving house, buying a bulky piece of furniture, taking some household waste to the tip, or even deciding on setting up your own business, chances are that you might be in the market for hiring or buying a van.

But what kind of licence is required to drive a van? Well, you'll be relieved to know that most vans don't require any changes to your standard driver's licence.

However, before getting on the road, it's critical to understand which types of vans require a different licence. In our helpful guide, we'll look at the various types of vans and required licences.

Can I drive a van on my car licence?

As of 2022, you can drive a van weighing no more than 3.5 tonnes (or 3,500kg) on your standard full driving licence in the United Kingdom. It can be difficult to determine which vans fall under and over this weight limit, so if you are unsure, do your research and seek the advice of the manufacturer's specifications.

Alternatively, you could also pay a visit to a local public weighbridge, but this will usually come with a fee. Driving without the proper licence can result in a £1,000 fine and 3 to 6 penalty points, so it's critical to get this right.

You also need to ensure that the van you are planning to drive is taxed, insured (which we will come onto later) and has a valid MOT certificate.

What size vans can I drive?

As we mentioned above, you can drive any van up to a weight of 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes) on your standard driving licence before needing to take another test. Popular examples of vans that fall under the 3,500kg weight threshold for a standard driving licence include the following:

There are many more vans available at this threshold, so take a look to see what your options are before committing to anything. Read online reviews and take a look at owner reviews across the web to see which van will be best for your individual needs, even if you only need it on a temporary basis.

Can I drive a van on my car insurance?

Insurance is very different from your individual licence. If you are purchasing a van, you will need to update your insurance policy accordingly and let your insurer know that you will be driving a van/commercial vehicle rather than a passenger car. Check the level of cover you need and tell your insurance company whether your van is for social or business use, as this will affect your policy.

Person driving vehicle

If you are renting or hiring a van, it’s essential to check that insurance for the duration of your rental is included, as it could be an extra cost.

It’s also important to remember that moving from a passenger car to a van means speed limits can differ depending on the road you travel on. Here’s a handy table showing you the current speed limits for vans and cars.

Road type

Van speed limit (not more than 7.5 tonnes)

Van with trailer speed limit (not more than 7.5 tonnes)

Car speed limit





Dual carriageway




Single carriageway




Built-up area





The 30mph limit usually applies to all traffic on all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise (near schools, for instance). In essence, most vans have a lower speed limit than passenger cars. For more information on UK speed limits, check out the government website.

Remember, you can be fined up to £1,000 (and up to £2,500 for motorway offences) and get 3 to 6 penalty points for speeding. Therefore, it’s important to know what speed limits apply to you, especially if you’re in a vehicle you aren’t used to.

How long can I drive a van for?

This one is something that catches commercial vehicle drivers out. The UK government states that all drivers need to follow the rules for continuous driving.

The rules that apply depend on the following considerations:

  • The weight of the van you're driving
  • The country that you are driving in
  • What it is you are using the van for

If you are driving a van within the UK for more than four hours a day, you need to follow the Great Britain domestic rules on drivers’ hours. They outline your working hours, and the rest periods that you must take – it’s also important to note that you can be fined up to £300 for going over the daily driving limits.

Before heading off on your journey, remember to give your van the once over, even if you are hiring it from a reputable company. Among the checks you should carry out are checking your tyre pressure and oil levels.

And there you have it – everything you need to know about what you need when thinking about renting or buying a van in the UK. If you are considering setting up a new business, and need Chapter 8 compliant chevrons, check out our fantastic range of chevron kits.