Vehicle ad hoc networks are self-configurable networks with dynamic topologies. All involved nodes in vehicle ad hoc networks, including vehicles and roadside devices, have to share the responsibility for achieving handover operation and providing communication services. Such networks are more vulnerable to the malicious attacks than traditional wireless networks because of the shortage of the fixed infrastructure. Moreover, because the vehicles always move from one area to another very quick, how to handle the handover between roadside devices has become a crucial challenge in designing the system. For providing secure and seamless communications in such networks, we develop a robust and fast handover mechanism. We have conducted essential experiments to demonstrate the superiority of the new mechanism to other works. In particular, we have applied the BAN logic model to prove the correctness of mutual authentication between involved participants. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.