Depending on what type of commercial vehicle you drive you need to make sure that you have the right licence, otherwise you may not be able to control the vehicle properly and you could be driving the vehicle illegally.
Furthermore, you may find that when looking for insurance for vans you may not be able to get cover if you don’t have the right type of licence. So what licence do you need for each type of commercial vehicle?
Small Commercial Vehicles
Most people at one point in their lives will drive a small commercial vehicle as they come in handy when moving house for instance. Generally, your regular driver’s licence will be adequate for this, however you will need to buy van insurance for the duration of the time you plan on driving the vehicle. The rules state that you can drive any small commercial vehicle that has up to eight passenger seats and a Maximum Authorised Mass of 3,500kg. You are also allowed to tow a trailer as long as the total weight of the trailer plus the vehicle is no more than 3,500kg, but if you are ever unsure make sure you check with who you hire or buy the vehicle from!
Medium Commercial Vehicles
If you want to drive a vehicle that weighs anywhere between 3,500 and 7,500kg then you will need to apply for a C1 or a C1+E licence. With the C1 licence you are only allowed to tow a trailer along with your medium sized commercial vehicle as long as it doesn’t weigh more than 750kg, however if you have a C1+E licence you can tow a trailer that is over 750kg but cannot weigh more than the vehicle when fully loaded, and the vehicle and trailer can only weigh up to 12,000kg in total. In order to apply for one of these licences you can get a provisional licence, but depending on whether you are planning on towing or not you may need to get a full licence. The best thing to do is check before you get behind the wheel!
Lorries, Minibuses and Buses
Due to the size and use of all three of these vehicles, drivers need to make sure that they have specific licences so that they know they can drive them safely whilst on the road. You will firstly have to apply for a C or D licence in order to drive these vehicles legally, however there are stricter rules when it comes to these licences. For instance, if you drive a lorry, minibus or bus you will need to reapply for your licence every five years after you reach the age of 45, and every year once you are 65. In order to do this you will not only have to complete forms yourself but also get a doctor to fill in a form for you to make sure you are fit for the road!
Making sure you have the right licence for your commercial vehicle not only means that you are safe on the road, but also that you have the right skills needed to control a certain sized vehicles. If you are ever unsure about licences then make sure you contact your van insurance provider or even the DVLA!