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Whatever the experience level of van drivers, they must always take it upon themselves to know the law regarding the weight of their vehicle and to make sure they adhere to it at all times when on the road. Failing to do so could mean their vehicle becomes unstable and harder to control, putting themselves and other road users at risk.

What's more, driving a van over the legal weight limit can invalidate a driver's van insurance. Therefore, if they're then involved in an accident, their any driver van insurance will no longer cover them.

But what is the legal weight limit for a van?

For drivers who passed their test after 1 January 1997, their vehicle should be no heavier than 3,500kg, which is the maximum weight a standard licence allows drivers to operate. Drivers who intend on exceeding the 3,500kg weight limit are required to take an additional driving test so that they can add higher category entitlements to their licence.

The weight limit may not apply if you passed your test earlier than this date because your licence could already entitle you to drive larger, heavier vehicles but, to be certain, make sure you check the back of your licence. For a full list of what size vehicles different licence categories allow you to drive, click here.

However, this information appears to be unknown to many, and overloaded vans are a major concern. According to the DVSA, eight out of the ten vehicles they stop are overloaded.

Now, van leasing site Leasevan.co.uk is urging drivers to check their vehicle's weight because of fears that younger van drivers in particular are at risk of making the costly mistake of carrying too much in their van.

A spokesman for LeaseVan.co.uk, Tim Alcock, explained that some drivers do not always factor in seemingly insignificant, light items when determining whether they've overshot the limit; they only take into account the weight of the van itself (the average weight of a mid-sized van is around 2,000 KG) while forgetting its contents, which includes themselves and any colleagues in the passenger seat.

“The 3,500kg limit on their driving licence includes everything inside the van, including the driver, his lunch, any items in the cab, even the packet of mints on the dashboard," Alcock explained.

Alcock also mentioned that exceeding the weight even by a small amount - just 1kg - is enough to invalidate their licence and insurance policy and potentially land them in trouble with the law. This means that drivers who passed their test after 1997 are at risk of unwittingly causing unnecessary disruption to their work schedule.

So please take the time to check. If you're concerned that the collective weight of the items you're transporting may have tipped you over into illegal weight, then instead of doing a rough estimate in your head based on your vehicle and its contents, it's a much better idea to find out your vehicle's exact weight by using a local weighbridge. You can find your nearest weighbridge on the GOV.UK website.

While there may be many drivers who are unaware of the weight limit law, all commercial vehicle drivers should hopefully know that before they can start successfully and legally operating their business, they should have taken out the right cover for them.

But not all any driver van insurance policies are created equal, which is why it's a good idea to use iVan to help you find the best, most cost-effective policy for comprehensive cover. Click the 'Get a Quote' button below to find the best quality low-cost van insurance today.