Planning to hire a van to move house and it got you thinking, “Can I drive a van on my licence ?” While the answer to that is relative, the good news is that no special licence is needed to drive most UK vans.
But that may change though, depending on the type of van in question. So, how do you tell if you can drive a van on a B licence UK? This guide will break it down for you. If planning to hire a van with your car licence, read on to find out more.
Can I Drive A Van On My Licence?
The regulations around van driving vary on different factors like the vehicle’s weight and your type of licence. Yes, you can drive a 3.5-tonne van on a standard full UK driving licence. If you don’t know or are unsure about the weight of your van, find a weighbridge nearby to have the weight measured.
In such a case, let someone else with a proper driving licence drive the van to the weighbridge. Their licence should authorise them to drive a vehicle that weighs up to 7,500kg. Plus, don’t forget to have valid insurance, vehicle tax, and a Ministry of Transport (MOT) certificate.
Can I Lodge My Van Driving Licence Application?
No, you can’t because there is no specific driving licence for vans. If you want to drive a van that weighs up to 7.5 tonnes, you must have gotten your standard driver’s licence before 1st January 1997.
Otherwise, you’ll need to upgrade your standard driving licence to Category C1.
Types of Driving Licences For Driving a Van
It’s worth exploring the types of driving licences and understanding which one you will need, especially if planning to drive the van in the long term.
Driving licences generally fall into different categories, each allowing the holder to drive specific vehicles. The most commonly held driving licences are Category B for cars and Category C1 for medium goods vehicles. With these licences, you’ll get certain limited driving privileges that permit you to drive a van.
Category B Licence
This is the standard driving licence for cars but it’s also a driver’s licence for vans weighing not more than 3.5 tonnes. You’re also allowed to tow a trailer if the combination of the van and trailer has a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of 8,250kg.
The van is allowed a maximum of 8 passengers with the driver included. So, if wondering if you can “drive a van when I pass my test?” Yes, you can drive common vans used for personal purposes and small businesses.
Which vans can I drive with my full driver’s licence?
The UK allows you to drive a wide range of vans weighing below 3.5 tonnes on a standard driver’s licence. These include Vauxhall Vivaro, Renault Traffic, and Ford Transit.
1. Ford Transit
The Ford Transit Connect is a popular compact van with a maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of around 2,000 kilograms. It’s loved for its practicality, versatility, and spacious room for cargo, making it ideal for personal use and small businesses.
2. Volkswagen Transporter T6
The Volkswagen Transporter T6 is a reliable mid-size van available in different configurations. This van is easy to drive and offers a flexible load-carrying capacity.
3. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Lower weight variant)
Generally, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a large van compared to the other two and is popularly used for commercial activities. It comes in different variants including one with a GVW less than 3,500kg and ample space for carrying equipment and goods.
4. Vauxhall Vivaro
Vauxhall Vivaro is another excellent van with a GVW lower than 3,500kg that you can drive with a standard driving licence. It’s an ideal choice for doing deliveries and passenger transport.
Can I drive a 12-passenger van with a regular licence?
Yes, you can drive a 12-passenger van with a regular licence but with the condition that no payment is involved. That is, the passengers onboard shouldn’t pay a fare, and neither should the driver receive payment. Another important requirement is that the van (minibus) should be used by non-commercial entities for social activities only.
Other restrictions include the health conditions of the driver, especially if they’re above 70 years old. Does that mean I can hire a van on my licence? Yes, if planning a family trip and need to hire a 12-passenger van (often called a minibus), your standard driver’s licence is good to go.
What about driving a 15-passenger van on a regular licence?
The terms for driving a minibus on a standard licence apply to up to 16-passenger vans. So, if wondering if you can drive a 15-passenger van with a regular licence, yes you can.
But if the driving involves some sort of commercial activity, you’ll need to upgrade your licence.
Category C1 (Medium Goods Vehicle Licence)
While most of the small vans in the UK are below 3.5 tonnes, the bigger versions are beyond this MAM. If the van weighs more than 3,500kg but below 7,050kg, you will need a Category C1 licence. Don’t get behind the wheel of a van like the Mercedes Benz Sprinter that weighs beyond 3.5 tonnes with the standard car licence.
Doing this could land you into trouble, attracting penalty point deductions and court summons. This is particularly true if you got your driving licence after or on 1st January 1997.
If you passed your car driving licence earlier than 1st January 1997, you’re permitted to drive commercial vehicles weighing a MAM of 7.5 tonnes. You won’t need a Category C1 driving licence. A key point to note though, is that if you intend to drive a van in the range of 3.5 – 7.5 tonnes MAM for work, you must obtain a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
Driving professionally without a CPC card attracts a fixed penalty of £50.
Driving Electric Vans with More Than 3.5 Tonnes MAM
Can I drive a van on my licence if it’s electric and weighs more than 3.5 tonnes? Yes, you can! In 2018, the UK made changes to the MAM requirements for driving alternatively fuelled vehicles on a Category B licence. This was pushed by the commitment to meet net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the growing market for plug-in electric vans.
You can drive an electric van weighing up to 4,250kg MAM with your standard driver’s licence.
Category C (Large Goods Vehicle Licence)
The C1 licence allows a driver o operate heavy vehicles weighing beyond 7.5 tonnes, including lorries and rigid-body trucks. Although it’s not specific to vans, the C1 licence generally allows you to drive larger commercial vehicles used for goods transportation.
Driving Limits for Vans
Having addressed the license requirements, you need to know the speed limits applicable to various roads when driving a van. Also, it’s crucial to know that your car driving skills will need a tweak to make your van driving safe.
Familiarising yourself with a van
When you get behind the wheel of a van, you’ll first notice the difference in drive feel. Compared to a compact saloon car, vans usually take longer to stop. So, bear this in mind and keep a reasonable distance from the vehicle you’re following.
Other than that, vans have an unwieldy shape, longer and wider so you’ll need plenty of room when changing lanes or taking turns. You should also know about the additional blind spots of a van, bearing in mind that they lack a rearview mirror. If you’re a skilled car driver, it shouldn’t take you long to adjust. Within a few hours of practice, you’ll be able to drive a 3.5-tonne van on a standard full uk driving licence.
Van driving limits
The UK has domestic rules that drivers who spend more than 4 hours behind the wheel must adhere to. Those who exceed the daily limits risk being fined at least £300.
Can I drive a van on my license for more than 12 hours a day? The domestic rules state that you can drive a van with 3.5 tonnes of MAM for not more than 11 hours within 24 hours. The period excludes the hours you take for breaks or rests.
On weekly driving limits, you’ll have a maximum of 56 hours, starting Monday midnight to Sunday midnight.
To sum it up, you can drive a van on a standard driving license in the UK, but with limitations. Whether planning to “hire a van on my licence” or buy a van for your business, you need to be well informed about the license requirements. A standard B license allows you to drive a van weighing not more than 3.5 tonnes for personal purposes.
Can I drive a van on my license? If driving a van weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, you’ll need at least a Category C1 license and other requirements. If driving for commercial purposes, you’ll also need a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). Don’t forget other restrictions such as age limits and other requirements that may apply to a specific license category.