All vans up to 3.5 tonnes can be driven with a standard car driving licence. You may need to take extra tests before you can drive or tow certain vehicles types, including 7.5 tonne vans, if you passed your driving test after 1 January 1997.
Keeping your van maintained will help to keep it roadworthy, saving you time and money. The walkaround checklist shows simple checks you can do yourself. Watch a demonstration of an exterior walkaround check being completed below.
It's also important to make sure the interior of your van is kept in good working order. A routine check will highlight any potential problem areas.
Make sure you and your goods arrive safely at your destination. Some vans don’t have a bulkhead and in the event of an accident, the contents of your cargo area could end up in the cab.
Load your goods evenly throughout the cargo area, with the heaviest items at the bottom, and do not overload the individual axles. Use appropriate restraints to secure your load - like netting and straps, and make sure you don’t go over your van’s Design Gross Weight.
Check your driving licence to make sure you have the necessary permissions, if you want to tow a trailer.
If your combined vehicle and trailer weight (otherwise known as the Gross Train Weight) is above 3.5 tonnes, you’ll need to follow EU rules - but there are a number of exemptions. These rules will affect the number of hours you can drive and require you to record your hours using a tachograph.
You must have a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your van and trailer combination is either:
above 3.5 tonnes
the total weight (without you and your load) is heavier than 1.525 tonnes.
However, if the weight of your trailer without its load is less than 1.020 tonnes and you only carry your own goods, you won’t need an operator’s licence.
Towing a trailer will also reduce the speed you’re allowed to travel at.