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Driving in Mexico Safety Tips - RV, Cars, Motorcycles

Safety of Driving in Mexico

Honestly, driving in Mexico is much safer than you'd think. I've driven on and off-road since '68 (19, not 18). I speak from experience. Many who say it's not safe have never driven or had a bad experience. I've driven in Los Angeles and Houston and had bad experiences, but don't warn you not to drive in L.A. or Houston (may God rest your soul if you have to). 

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Motorcycle Safety Tips

 

Still smiling after 5,000 miles!

Motorcyclists face a few additional challenges to safely driving their bikes in Mexico. While you may already do this in the USA or Canada, be extra cautious if it starts to rain on a Mexican highway. There seems to be an extra layer of oil or diesel slick on the roads. The first ten minutes are deadly. If you can pull over, do so. Better to wait under an overpass than slide under a semi.

If you are a beginning biker, this link to Best Motorbike Jackets has some valuable information for you. If you are a seasoned pro, you might find their products worth a peruse.

Your bike is safe

I don't know if motorcycle theft is really more common in Mexico, but that is the perception. Fortunately, some small hotels will let you park your bike in the lobby or at least inside somewhere!

You've got friends

There are active motorcycle clubs in most larger towns and they welcome foreigners. Search Facebook or when you get to a town, find a bike shop and ask how to get in touch with the local club.

Scenic R Us

Want to see some stuff? Let me custom-make a scenic road trip for you that will make the journey a great memory. I will send you down some trails in the Copper Canyon or paved, but seriously challenging highways in the colonial parts of the country. Tell me your preference and I will make a trip for you. Just click the "Map Store" button on the menu above.

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Be Safe, Not Sorry

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Sample Road Log

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Want to know what it is like to have an accident in Mexico?

Left / Right 

Right Turns

Right on red is usually OK, unless there is a sign saying that it is not. I have been told by many local people that it is legal. I have asked cops across the country and they have all said, "Yes, in my town. But every town is different." I have been honked at by locals when I wait for a green light. Today I turn unless I see a cop, in which case I freeze. But that is just me. Maybe you did not live such a sordid past. 

Left Turns

When there is a left turn lane, there will usually be a left turn arrow. Look for 4 lights on signal. You MUST wait for arrow. 



Accidents & Tickets Continued on Next Page

Driving Safety Tips - All Vehicles 

 When you drive, you really see Mexico. These driving tips for Mexico will help you have a safe and enjoyable trip. Driving safely in Mexico is a matter of defensive driving (gringos shouldn't try to drive offensively). 

Take it easy. Slow down. 

If the warning signs don't get ya to slow down, the topes will. 
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These speed bumps called Topes are quite effective. I no longer try to tell you where they all are. Just slow down at the entrance and exit to towns, around schools and hospitals.

Night Driving

Short version - Don't. It is stupid.

Don't drive at night on the two-lane roads. There is a lot of loose livestock and I have yet to see a cow equipped with tail lights. My tip for driving at night is - DON'T. On the toll roads (which are as good as or even better than those in the U.S. or Canada), I have relaxed my stance on night driving. So, if you are sticking to the toll roads, I suppose you could drive an hour or so after dark. However, although driving in Mexico is generally safe, remember that bad people like to move under cover of darkness in any country. Also the Green Angels are home in bed, so there is no help except for a kind passer-by. I have found folks to be a lot kinder in daylight hours. So, if you want to be an idiot and drive all day and night, go ahead. Just don't ask me if it is alright. It is not. It is stupid.

Left Turn Signals

This does not apply on toll roads, where international rules of the road pretty much apply. On the open road (meaning libre two-lane highways), a left turn signal is an invitation to the guy behind you to pass. Trucks and buses frequently turn their left blinker on to guide you around them. I trust them, but use common sense. Sometimes they have optimistic views of your acceleration capabilities. Don't use your left turn signal on a two lane road when you are about to pass. You might get hit. My advice -- use your signals as you are used to on toll roads and in cities, but don't expect the other guy to do the same.