Driving in Mexico can be an enriching experience if you know the rules of the road. These are slightly different from the US in that there are cultural disparities in the way drivers act. There are also right ways of driving in Mexico that will ensure your safety while on the road. Here are 9 safety tips you should keep in mind when driving in Mexico.
Tip 1: Avoid driving in Mexico at night
It is generally safer to drive during the day anywhere in the world because there is better visibility and drivers are usually more alert. When driving in Mexico, you never know what obstacles you will find on the road. This can be potholes, speed bumps (topes) dead or live animals, rocks, and other drivers with no taillights. If you really have to drive at night, do so very carefully and defensively.
Tip 2: Remember “060” when driving in Mexico
The Mexican government funds a fleet of trucks carrying crews that speak English that cruise the roads looking for tourists in need of road assistance. They are called the Los Angeles Verdes or Green Angels because the trucks are painted green. They carry tools and spare parts, and will come if you dial 060 and ask for assistance. They will not accept payment but won’t be offended if you offer it.
Tip 3: Keep to the beaten track when driving in Mexico alone
Although road bandits are few and far between, so are gasoline stations and any type of real help if you get in trouble on the road. When driving in Mexico on your own, keep to the main roads that are in better condition.
Tip 4: Turn signal rules when driving in Mexico
A left turn signal does not always mean that the driver in front of you is going to turn left. It can mean you can pass; it can also mean the driver just forgot to turn it off. If you are not sure what to do, hang back a little and see what happens. Even if you think you are being invited to pass but are not sure, don’t pass.
Tip 5: Shoulder etiquette when driving in Mexico
A shoulder on the road when driving in Mexico is not for just for breakdowns. If it is a two-lane road and there are two vehicles coming at you side-by-side, you have to go on the shoulder and let them pass.
Tip 6: Never drink when driving in Mexico
Drinking and driving in Mexico is a bad idea anywhere, but a Mexican jail is not something you want to include in your list of adventures. Being caught under the influence of drugs, driving in Mexico or not, is even worse. Keep it clean and sober while driving in Mexico; it will also void your Mexico Auto Insurance.
Tip 7: Bribery while driving in Mexico
“Instant fines” (mordida or bribes) are an accepted thing while driving in Mexico, but not all traffic cops are on the take. To be on the safe side, ask to see the chief if you are disputing the ticket. A cop on the take will back off at this request. You can also just accept the ticket; most traffic tickets can be paid state-side
Tip 8: Flashing lights means slow down when driving in Mexico
When a driver going towards you flashes his or her lights at you, it can mean two things. One, that you should slow down because the road is narrow or there is a bridge and only one of you can pass. In this instance, the driver who first flashes lights will go first. The second thing it could mean is that there is some trouble up the road that the driver just passed, and is just warning you to be careful.
Tip 9: Have adequate Mexican insurance when driving in Mexico
Just in case something happens when driving in Mexico, adequate Mexican insurance coverage will ensure that you will get over the situation as quickly and safely as possible. Not having enough or the right kind of insurance can mean a hefty payout or some time getting acquainted with a Mexican jail cell. When driving in Mexico, be prepared for the worst.