Speed Limits Being Broken Accidently

Motorcaravan owners are being warned they could be accidentally breaking the speed limit, without even realising it.

The UK has experienced a surge in the popularity of campervans in recent years. It is a trend spurred-on by the need for new staycation ideas during the global pandemic.

Many campervan owners will be taking to the road over the Summer.

But there’s a legal grey area when it comes to speed limits for campervans and motorhomes.  According to experts at Select Van Leasing, you need to check your documents carefully. 

Typically, most campervans are called motorcaravans in the eyes of the law.  They are essentially treated just like a car when it comes to speed limits. So long as they have an unladen weight below 3,050kg. 

That means they are free to travel at 60mph on national speed limit roads, 70mph on dual carriageways, and motorways.

Panel Van or Camper? 

But if your vehicle was once a panel van – and has since been converted into a camper, either by yourself or via a specialist – things are more complicated.  You might need to reduce your speed considerably. 

Graham Conway, from Select Van Leasing, warns: “Unlike dedicated campers, most vans are subject to lower speed limits than cars.  As such they must follow the limits set for goods vehicles of the same weight. 

That means 50mph on single lane national speed limit roads, 60mph on dual carriageways, and 70mph on motorways. 

While a vehicle might look like a camper, it might still be classified as a van in the eyes of the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA).  

Conway says, “I’d urge campervan owners to check the ‘V5C’ logbook for their vehicle. If it’s classified as a ‘motor caravan’, you can keep up with other cars.


If the logbook shows that a camper’ is still, classified as a goods vehicle or light van, then drivers have to take things at a much slower pace. 

If drivers don’t, they risk a speeding fine and three points on their licence. They are breaking the law – even if they had no idea they were doing anything wrong!”

Graham Conway and Select Van Leasing says you can write to the DVLA in order to get your converted panel van re-classified as a motor caravan. But that process can be tricky, and the DVLA needs detailed photographic evidence of the completed conversion.

For a van conversion to truly be treated like a camper, it also needs a minimum number of internal features. Including including seats and a table, sleeping accommodation, and cooking facilities.

Proving popular

Conway adds: “Campervans are proving extremely popular in the UK, and for good reason. You get to experience life on the open road while also being able to park up overnight at your desired location. 

Niederlande Fahrradfahrer

“But,” he said, “If you’re new to the whole ‘van life’ thing, it would be wise you get acquainted with the legalities. “

“Just like different areas of the UK have specific rules regarding overnight parking and camping in vehicles, it’s very easy for campervan newbies to get hit with a speeding ticket.”