Camper Van Speed Limits

How fast can you drive a campervan?

It sounds like a simple question, but the motorhome and camper van speed limit on different roads can depend on a number of factors. From gross vehicle weight to appearance, carrying capacity, and the type of bodyshell the vehicle has, each of these attributes may affect the speed you can drive at.

For all passenger cars and motorcycles on British roads, the speed limit is displayed on the roadside. Typically these are 30mph in a built-up area, 60mph on country roads & 70mph on dual carriage ways and motorways.

For most manufacturers of ‘Factory’ or ‘Coach’ built campervans and motorhomes under 3.05 tons, the speed limits will be the same as a car, as stated on the gov.uk site. There are exceptions to the weight limit; some VW Californias are 3080kg gross weight and the new Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo is 3100kg.

A simple, quick way to find out is to look at your log book and check the Vehicle Details section ‘J’. If it’s listed as ‘M1’ then you and drive at car speeds, if it states ‘N1’ then you probably have a commercial vehicle. This will reduce your speed limit for A roads and dual carriageways by 10mph to 50mph on country roads, and 60mph on dual carriage ways. Motorways are still 70mph.

So what about a converted camper van speed limit? There are also many vans that have been converted into campervans. Some will have been converted prior to registration and will have a Body Type “Motorcaravan”, and their class may be ‘M1’ or ‘Not Available’. Either of these should be classed as a car and can be driven at car speeds.

This can be checked on the gov.uk website by entering the registration number.

‘Motorcaravan’ classification has historically also been applied to converted campervans with ‘N1’ class, so there is some confusion here. But at least one other gov.uk site states the speed limit for motorcaravans to be the same as cars.

However, the updated DVLA change of use guidance states that The body type does not affect the insurance category of the vehicle, or have any effect on speed limits or other legislative requirements. It is only used for establishing vehicle appearance and identification.”

As this is contradictory, even if you already have your camper re-registered as a ‘Motorcaravan’, our current advice is to adhere to commercial vehicle speed limits until this issue is clarified by DVLA.

Change of use: In recent months DVLA have been refusing to change the body type of Kombi and panel vans to ‘Motorcaravan’. This is bringing into question the speed limits for converted campers.

Before conversion, both panel vans and most Kombis are registered with DVLA as goods vehicles and as such have speed limits of 50mph on single carriage ways, 60mph on dual carriage ways and 70mph on motorways.

If you are looking to get a campervan converted, and you want to be able to drive at passenger car speeds, one option is to buy a Kombi which is registered as a car. This can be done if you are buying a new van, but various choices need to be made to make sure the vehicle is registered correctly. Please get in touch if you would like further advice on this.

 

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a guide only and not as advice. For detailed advice always refer to the DVLA or other government advice sites.

 

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