Tips For Driving Cars, Motorcycles, RV's In Mexico

Do You Need a 4-Wheel Drive ?

This is one of the top ten questions I get about driving in Mexico. The answer is simple. No, nope, nay, nein, non. 

Most Mexicans drive sedans. If they aren't all thundering down the road, ready for adventure (and whatever comes their way), why should you? 

Offroad pothole Mexico

Country Tope

Tope or Not To Pe? 

Topes (pronounced Toe Pays) are not for hiding bald spots. They are enemy #1 of Mexico driving. Calling them speed bumps is like  calling the Grand Canyon an hole in the ground. I swear, and you will too, that they are evil, with minds of their own. 

Reductor tope sign

Topes live & breed in small towns at the entrance and exits. Special breeds live near hospitals and schools. Some, like the ones that broke my tierod, lie in wait at junctions of roads for no apparent reason. 

Be Safe, Not Sorry

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Tope Sign

tope sign mexico

Hyperbole aside, topes (like Baskin-Robbins) come in different flavors. Some are concrete or steel speed bumps up to 5 inches high in the middle of the road.  Others (called bordos or vibradores) are rumble strips a foot or three wide. They are effective at slowing traffic. Hit your first one and you'll understand. If they are signed, you can slow down in time. If the sign is missing, or right on top of them, you will bounce up to your roof and pray you didn't break something. 

Zen of City Driving

Mexican road signs

Go with the flow. Think of city driving as a ballet and the other drivers fellow dancers with or without tutus. If that's too wavy-gravy for you, imagine you're in a pinball game. The goal is to avoid the flippers (crazy drivers) and make the right exits. 

Both Far Left & Far Right Are Right

Card image cap

The far left lane is for getting through without stopping. RV's generally should stay one lane over but never in the far right lane, regardless of your political persuasion. Work your way over to your exit long before you would in the States. Mexican highway signs will either give you way too much warning (Exit is 3 light years ahead) or none (If you're reading this, you just missed your exit, cabron.)

Just Say No To Topes

  • Watch the taillights of the guy in front of you.  Don't speed!
  •  Always slow down as you enter & leave towns. 
  • Expect topes at schools, hosptials and shopping centers.