Driving Tips For Driving Cars and RV's To Mexico

Driving Your Car or RV To Mexico

 Tips For Driving In Mexico -- General

You can drive your car, RV or motorcycle to Mexico and see places you'd miss if you just flew to the beach resorts. Driving to Mexico is growing in popularity. More people are driving their cars and RVs to Mexico in the twenty-first century than were in the 1990's. Alas, fear of safety is slowing things down this decade. But as law enforcement officials in the USA and Canada have stated publicly, "The place where your RV is most likely to be stolen or vandalized is your own driveway." Of course if you are a fulltimer, your driveway is wherever you park, but you get the idea.

True, many people claim to be deterred by safety concerns, but you know what? Those people didn't drive to Mexico anyway. Some people have always been afraid to drive in Mexico. Their excuses have always been based on isolated incidents and faulty reporting. If you drive only the toll roads of Mexico, you will find driving to be as easy as at home. If you drive the secondary or free roads, you will have an adventure. I drive a little of both.

There is a new RV forum that seems to bridge the gap between fact and fantasy.

You are no more likely to encounter drug lord shoot outs in Mexico than you are to be in the middle of a gang war in the USA. Both happen, but most tourists don't go where the 'action' is.

I live on the Mexican border and go over to eat cabrito, get medications, go to the doctor and dentist etc. and never feel unsafe.

I've been driving Mexico since 1968 and take at least one trip a year on the back roads (dirt trails, really) looking for hot springs. Besides that I drive hundreds of miles on highways between cities without worries. You can too.

For those afraid to drive, here are some things I routinely do in Mexico. Would you go up to a lonely farm house or ranch in the USA and ask directions? Would you feel comfortable stopping on a narrow dirt road to ask directions from a truck coming the other way? Would you even expect it to stop? Would a stranger in a small town invite you into his house to show it off to you in the States, if you were taking pictures of it? Would you see young children playing without fear in public parks at 10 PM? All these things are true in Mexico. But those people have their minds made up and won't listen to reason.

You will find several different products relating to driving in Mexico (maps and road logs or roadlogs) or go to my shopping cart, to get a complete list of my maps, roadlogs and trip-planning services to help you get the most out of a driving trip to Mexico.

Driving is different in Mexico, so you will want to read the tips here and on other pages in this site before taking your car, RV, motorcycle or trailer to Mexico. Also, you must have Mexican auto insurance, and I recommend clicking on the banner above for the best from Nelson Mexican Insurance Agency, with personal service.

You are driving to the interior of Mexico, so border worries will not affect you. Get dependable Mexican tourist auto insurance by clicking my review and comparison of 3 Mexican insurance companies and use common sense -- and follow "Mexico" Mike's tips below. Mexican highways are better than you think. Mexican toll roads are comparable to toll roads anywhere. I have driven about a million miles in Mexico for the last 30 years. Driving Mexico is the best way to see the country.

Driving Safety -- The Facts

Despite what you may have heard from people who have never driven an auto in Mexico, or been past a border town (or even some Mexicans who delight in accentuating negative stereotypes), driving in Mexico is just as safe as driving in the United States or Canada. Seriously, the facts are that you have less chance of having an accident in Mexico than in the States. I used to work for an insurance company, which is why they stay in business. The chances of your being assaulted, or kidnapped are slim to none. You are more likely to have such things happen to you in any city in the USA. But the press only reports drug killings etc. Mexicans read the news and think the United States is unsafe. While we were in Mexico, we heard about school shootings, road rage, assaults and home invasions -- in the good old USA.

Driving an RV to Mexico is a great experience. Don't get sold a bill of goods into believing you need to go in a caravan. Caravans are fine for those who want a group experience and a guide, but they are not necessary for safety.  There are plenty of RV parks and most towns have bypasses so you don't need to worry about getting stuck on tiny streets. For RV driving-specific info, go to my RV page.

Do You Need a 4-Wheel Drive Or A Truck To Drive Mexican Roads?

For those driving an auto to Mexico, your regular car is just fine to drive. You don't have to have an SUV to drive Mexico any more than you do in your home country. Mexicans have mainly Nissans, VW's and other sedans. However, the topes (road bumps to slow down traffic) can take a bite out of your undercarriage. I recently drove an old Mercury Sable and had to stop at each tope. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I had had good shocks.

OK, some of the things you’ve heard about driving in Mexico are true. If you drive the free roads in the mountains, you should probably have your head examined. Passing on blind curves is a sport, similar to bullfighting. All you need to know about it is that you don’t want to participate.

In other places, both defensive driving and aggressive driving come in handy. How many of us can compete with NY or Boston cabbies -- or would want to? I have driven in most of the major U.S. cities and find the drivers in Mexico to be generally more polite, particularly the truck drivers and long distance bus drivers.

Highway Accidents In Mexico?

The good news is that, if you drive defensively, you have less chance of getting into an accident than you do here — according to American companies that sell Mexican auto insurance. Their rates have gone down over the years. Have yours? Claims adjusters gave me some statistics, which I promptly filed in the statistic heaven part of my brain, that proves that a greater percentage of drivers in Texas have accidents than in Mexico.

Impossible, you scoff. It’s true. You must learn to drive defensively, and learn some rules about driving, but once you do that, you will find that driving in Mexico is like performing in a ballet, without having to wear a tutu. For most of us, that is a blessing.

I’ve been driving around Mexico for about forty years and have had only one accident. That was due to a leaky muffler and carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s not to say I haven’t had some close calls. A U.S. tour bus driver who was driving in Mexico for the first time, put it best.

People here are actually more polite. They look out for you. For example, the trucks and busses will help you pass by using their turn signals. Other drivers flash their lights to warn you of dangers. In the States, it’s every man for himself.