Speed awareness

This month, the Club’s technical team offer advice on the speed limits applied to leisure vehicles in the UK

Q Please can you clarify the speed limits as they apply to leisure vehicles in the UK? Are those limits actually enforced?

A We mention this advice from time to time, but it does no harm to repeat it. Both newcomers to touring and those with plenty of experience can (and do) get caught out.

Car or motorhome towing a caravan or trailer

For single carriageway roads with a 60mph limit for cars, the limit when towing is 50mph. On dual carriageway roads and motorways with a 70mph limit for cars, the limit when towing is 60mph.


This is where things get a little complicated, as the rules are based on the unladen weight of the vehicle – something which not all owners will know. The definition of unladen weight used in this context is the weight of the vehicle when it’s not carrying any passengers, goods or other items, and without fuel. Most vehicle manufacturers quote a kerbweight definition which usually includes 75kg allowance for the driver and the weight of fuel – that’s typically about 150kg more than the unladen weight. 

Some motorhome converters are reluctant to quote such weights, though, saying it depends on the individual vehicle specification. That makes it hard to know your payload allowance and potentially your speed limit too.

If the unladen weight of your motorhome is not more than 3.05 tonnes, the same limits apply as for solo cars, ie 60mph on derestricted single carriageway roads and 70mph on derestricted dual carriageways and motorways.

However, if the unladen weight of your motorhome exceeds 3.05 tonnes, the limits are 50mph for single carriageways, 60mph for dual carriageways but 70mph for motorways.

There’s a handy table summarising these limits on p605 of the current (2021/2022) edition of the Club’s Sites Directory and Handbook, or see gov.uk/speed-limits for details.


Are these limits enforced? 

Yes! Police officers using portable or in-car equipment are clearly able to identify the vehicle type, but some types of speed camera can differentiate between types of vehicle and apply different limits accordingly, often using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to identify the vehicle type from its registration record. We do receive reports from Club members towing caravans confirming that the lower towing speed limits are indeed enforced.

This raises a further problem for motorhome owners: if your vehicle is not correctly recorded as a ‘motor caravan’ (or sometimes ‘motorhome’) on its registration documentation, an ANPR system may apply speed limits for goods vehicles instead. For goods vehicles not over 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight, that’s 50mph for single carriageways, 60mph for dual carriageways and 70mph for motorways, ie the same as for heavier motorhomes. The issue of incorrect motorhome registration is a matter of long-term and ongoing concern for the motorhome sector and has been raised repeatedly with DVLA.

Please address your questions to: Technical Information, Email: technical@camc.com Tel: 01342 336611...and quote your membership number

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