Different laws apply to cars and van speed limits.
Van speed limits are lower than cars on both single- and dual carriageway roads. This applies to all goods vehicles not exceeding 7.5 tonnes.
For example, a car can travel at 60mph on a single carriageway road, and 70mph on dual carriageways. However, a van can only travel 10mph less in each case, at only 50mph and 60mph respectively.
The reason for the speed differential is that vans are designed to carry heavier loads and therefore require more time to slow down.
There is no distinction made if the van is laden or unladen. The speed limit remains at 50mph for single carriageway and 60mph dual carriageway.
Are there exceptions to van speed limits?
Yes, there is one: it affects car-derived vans. This class includes the Ford Fiesta van, Vauxhall Corsavan, and so on. As long as the maximum payload (usually 500g) and unladen weight (for example 1.4 tonnes) does not exceed 2 tonnes laden. If these exceptions are met, then vans can travel at the same speed as cars.
What about motorways?
Vans up to 7.5 tonnes gvw can travel at 70mph on a motorway.
What if I’m towing a trailer?
If you are driving a car-derived van, the limit with trailer is 50mph on single carriageway roads; and 60mph on both dual carriageways and motorways.
For all other commercial vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes with trailer, the limit is 50mph on single carriageways; and 60mph on both dual carriageways and motorways.