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Driving in Mexico

When Driving Mexico there is one fundamental rule: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED vs. what you are accustomed to. When Driving In Mexico most accidents involving visitors to Mexico are a result of the visitor not expecting or anticipating an unaccustomed, sudden change in traffic or road conditions. For a list of maps and driving directions to destination in Mexico visit our Mexico driving maps and driving direction section.

Highway Driving In Mexico

Driving in MexicoFor tourists driving into Mexico, the single biggest cause of motor vehicle accidents on the highway is the narrow roadway with almost no shoulder. When Driving In Mexico be aware of the drop-off from pavement to shoulder it is usually several inches, so if a right side wheel drops off the pavement, it will almost certainly result in an accident. When Driving In Mexico this type of accident often results in the vehicle rolling over with significant damage to the vehicle and injuries to its occupants. Driver attention is enormously more important Driving In Mexico because the roadways are much less forgiving than the wide, four lane highways we are spoiled with in Canada and the U.S. Besides driver attention, here are a few other pointers that may make your trip safer when Driving in Mexico:

  • When Driving Mexico speed limits are stated in kilometers (1 mile = 1.6 kilometers).
  • Yellow lights are a signal to stop, not just to slow down.
  • You can get a citation for taking a right on red when Driving In Mexico although you will see many drivers doing it anyway
  • Be positive your vehicle is in top mechanical condition when Driving In Mexico, especially the suspension and tires.
  • In many cases, the "fast lane" is a passing lane only. You should move back over into the slow lane once you pass someone
  • When Driving In Mexico watch for "Topes," the famous Mexican speed bumps. They are frequently unmarked.
  • If you don't have a turning lane, don't make left turns off major highways if traffic is coming up behind you. If you are hit from behind while Driving In Mexico, it is your fault.
  • When Driving Mexico Don't rely on brake lights on the vehicle in front of you as the only warning it is slowing down.
  • If you have a choice, when Driving into Mexico take toll roads vs. the free ("Libre") roads. Toll roads are much safer.

City Driving In Mexico

Understand one-way street markings. When driving in Mexico the one-way signs are usually attached to buildings 10 feet or so above ground level

  • The signs are only about five inches high x 2 feet long and easy to miss
  • Streets going in the direction of the GREEN arrow have the right-of-way
  • Streets going in the direction of the RED arrow must yield the right-of-way
  • When in doubt, it's always safer (and smarter) to yield
  • Know your route; if you get lost, don't wander. Pull over and get oriented.
  • If you can't get oriented while Driving In Mexico, consider hiring a taxi and follow it to where you want to go (paying the taxi when you arrive)
  • Watch for pedestrians, hand carts, bicycles
  • Understand the flow in traffic circles

Mexico Road Signs

Click to Mexico Road and Traffic Signs

Gas Stations when Driving In Mexico

Gas station in MexicoPetroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is Mexico's state-owned, nationalized petroleum company. PEMEX is now the sole supplier of all commercial gasoline (petrol/diesel) stations in Mexico. All petrol stations, although labeled PEMEX, are concessions that are strictly full-service. PEMEX accepts Mexican Pesos and U.S. Dollars and fills vehicles in liters. Credit cards are not accepted. Therefore, American tourists who drive in Mexico do not have to exchange U.S. Dollars for Mexican Pesos to gas up in Mexico. While Driving Into Mexico make sure the fuel pump is set to $0.00 when you begin fueling. Also, pay attention to how much change you should receive in return when paying for your fuel. Gas station attendants have been known to intentionally give tourists the incorrect amount of change. Gasoline is sold in litres (1 gallon = 3.79 liters).

The Mexico Gas Station Pemex sells three different grades:

Pemex GasPEMEX Magna is unleaded gasoline - 87 octane.
PEMEX Premium is unleaded gasoline - 93 octane.
PEMEX Diesel for diesel engines.

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