Driving is on the right with overtaking on the left. Driving defensively is key, not just because other drivers can be reckless but the state of roads is often poor.
Watch out for potholes and be careful if you are stuck behind slow moving vehicles. Although the temptation to overtake will be great this can lead to an accident and many locals on the road do not have any insurance. Livestock can be found in the road in some of the lesser known rural areas. Also be aware that drivers may not obey stop signs or turn without indicating. And break lights often fail to work so keep a safe distance from the car in front.
In Mexico border patrols and car stops are frequent and you should comply with the requests of the soldiers. Turn down any music and remove your sunglasses to look respectful. As long as you do this there should be no problems. These army officers have the right to completely search your car and you must obey their orders.
Drivers should know that there are restrictions on driving in Mexico City to cut down on traffic problems. Licence plates are used to work out which cars can go into the centre of the city on which days so bear this in mind.
There are some basic rules to follow to prevent being a victim of crime in Mexico.
- Try to only drive during the day if possible
- Do not stop to pick up hitchhikers
- Do not stop for any obstacles, they may have been placed there to make you get out of the car
- Keep your car locked and the windows rolled up at traffic lights
- Let people know before leaving if you plan to take a long journey
Knowing some Spanish is more than useful for any situation. Having a good map is also a must. There are various <a href=" http://www.latino-cars.com/en/homepage/"> websites </a> which can give you excellent local driving information.
Do not move your car, unless it is in a dangerous position which might lead to another accident, and wait for the police to arrive. As drivers are often made liable for accidents in Mexico it can be a good idea to have Mexican driving insurance which can protect you. Discuss this with your car rental company.
The driver and all passengers must wear seatbelts.
Motorway signs in Mexico are similar to those found in Europe.
Fuel costs about $0.70 and is usually a little bit cheaper than in the US. However fuel prices are set by the government and typically rise every month. PEMEX gas stations are located at various intervals along the major roadways. Off the motorways you should keep your tank regularly filled as they may not be so frequent. Make sure that the pump is on zero when they start pumping your gas as if not this can be a trick to get you to pay more.
The Blood Alcohol Content limit is 0.08%.
You need to have your driving licence, your passport, some proof of insurance and your vehicle registration information. Although you do not need by law to have Mexican insurance it is strongly recommended as otherwise you could end up in jail for having an accident.
Some domestic licences such as UK and US licences are accepted but it is a good idea to have an International Driving Permit.
Stop – Pare
Entrance – La entrada
Detour - Desviación
Diesel - Gasóleo
Police - Policia
Parking - Estacionamiento
Highway – Carretera
Petrol - Gasolina
Exit – La Salida
Toll roads are frequent and a good option for fast travel on well maintained roads. At between 400-800 pesos toll roads can be relatively costly but are worth it for safe travel. Make sure to have some Pesos on you.
Mexico City has two electronic toll roads called the Viaducto Elevado Bicentenario and the Segundo Piso of Periferico Norte.
40km/h in urban areas
80 km/h outside
100 to 110 km/h on highways
Speed limits may vary in local areas. Speeding tickets are common and the officer is allowed to keep your licence to make sure that you attend the hearing for an offence.
The conversion from kilometres to miles per hour is one kilometre = 0.62 miles per hour.
To drive in Mexico you should be15 but in practice this is 17 for UK drivers as they need a licence. Most car hire companies require you to be over 23 years of age with a minimum of two years driving experience.
The emergency services number is 066, 060, or 080.
Stick to proper parking spaces. If you park haphazardly (as many Mexicans do) not only do you run the risk of being blocked in but you could also be a victim of car crime. Also park in populated and well-lit areas.