Campervan and Caravan Speed Limits Explained

24 June 2021

If you’ve recently converted your van for the first time and are raring to get it on the road, then you’re probably wondering about the speed limits, your vehicle classification, and more.

With so many drivers re-classifying vans as campers or embracing motorhomes, caravans and other luxury touring vehicles, it’s essential to understand how speed limits will affect your experience on the road.

Classifying Your Campervan Conversion

When you renovate or re-classify a donor van as a camper, one of the key aspects is the legal classification on the vehicle and how this changes the legal maximum speed limit. The DVLA (Driver Vehicle & Licensing Agency) covers this process, but it’s not always easy to navigate and can seem, at times, unclear.

Unless already specified on your V5C (or vehicle logbook), some conversions may result in the need for re-classification. This re-classification will impact your maximum speed limit on the road.

You’ll most likely end up classifying, either officially or “by keeper satisfaction” that you are a ‘motor caravan’. A motor caravan is then split into two weight categories, including:

  • Vehicles that are not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight.
  • Vehicles that are more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight.

If your campervan is under 2 tonnes, then you may be able to classify as a car derived vehicle or dual-purpose vehicle, which has the same legal speed limits as cars.

What is the Speed Limit for My Campervan?

There are two categories that will impact your speed limit. This is only if you’ve been classified as a motor caravan or motorhome on your V5C.

If your campervan is under 3.05 tonnes:

Your legal speed limits will match that of a car or motorcycle.

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

If Your Campervan is Over 3.05 tonnes:

Your speed limits will be the same as a bus or coach under 12m in length. The main difference is on single carriageways and dual carriageways, where the speed limit is 10mph less than that of a lighter camper.

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

My Campervan Classification isn’t a ‘Motor Caravan’ on My V5C, What Should I Do?

If your vehicle weighs over 3.05 tonnes unladen weight, but you haven’t been classified as a motorhome or motor caravan, then you must legally comply with the restricted speed limits. This is because there is no other possible classification for your vehicle.

However, if you are not legally classified as a ‘motor caravan’ and your vehicle weighs under 3.05 tonnes, then you should adhere to the same speed limits as if you were driving a car.

My Campervan Weighs Between 3.05 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes but Hasn’t Been Classified. What Does that Mean for My Speed Limit?

There are many ‘donor’ vehicles that can become recognised as a caravan legally, as long as it satisfies the internal requirements for a campervan. Becoming familiar with the legal criteria can help you understand when a vehicle is recognised as a caravan.

If, for all intents and purposes, and as the legally registered keeper, you believe your camper should be legally classified as a ‘motor caravan’ but for some reason or the other, the DVLA hasn’t classified it, then you have two options.

Adopt the speed limits of heavier motorhomes or caravans

As mentioned, you can adopt the speed limits of heavier vehicles, which are 10mph less than that of a car on single and dual carriageways.

Use the speed limits of a goods van under 7.5 tonnes

If, by appearance, your vehicle does not look like a campervan or motorhome, then you may want to use the speed limits of a light goods vehicle.

These are:

Built-up areas Single carriageways Dual carriageways Motorways
30mph 50mph 60mph 70mph or 60mph if towing a trailer (or articulated)

This doesn’t change much unless you’re towing or are driving an articulated van.

Summarising Campervan Speed Limits

The difficulty in understanding how your van might be impacted by different rules and regulations on the road is a source of confusion for many drivers. This is often discussed in communities, especially since the laws on classification were introduced back in 2019.

If you’re confused, it’s advisable to prioritise safety and choose a lower speed limit if you’re unsure. As campervans are designed for the journey and the destination, how you drive is just as much a part of owning one.

Get in touch with Just Kampers Insurance to feel safe and confident on the road, whatever your V5C classification.

For more information about tailoring insurance policies to your campervan or motorhome, whether you’re after affordable premiums, or something with that little bit more protection, consider coverage from the experts at Just Kampers Insurance.

Written by: Jason Sims

Jason is a Marketing Executive at Just Kampers who is a fully-fledged VW enthusiast, with over 20 years’ experience in keeping Volkswagens old and new on the road, he currently owns a 69 Cal Look Beetle, and enjoys attending VW shows and Camping with friends and family.

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