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Tips for Driving in Mexico

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 8 Sep 2014 | comments*Discuss
Tips For Driving In Mexico

Mexico is a fun place to visit, but if you’re planning to drive there, you should be aware of a number of local customs and road rules. Generally, the Mexican style of driving is very different from the UK. You’ll often find that trying to drive their unprepared can be a logistical nightmare, so plan in advance and learn as much as you can to ensure you have a safe trip.

Essential Tips for Driving in Mexico

The legal age for driving in Mexico is 15, but of course to drive there you will need your full UK licence or an International Driving Permit. This means you’ll need to be at least 17 and should be able to produce your licence, insurance and registration papers if needed. The chance that you’re going to drive your own car in Mexico is slim, it’s more likely that you’ll rent and if so, there are a number of issues to consider which we’ll look at further. Other than the issue of renting, you should generally be prepared to stop abruptly, look out for potholes and poor road conditions as well as other drivers who may not reach your expected driving standard.

Mexico City has recently introduced restrictions on driving in order to lower air pollution and cars are forbidden from entering certain areas on particular days. Regardless of whether you have permanent plates, visitor plates or temporary plates on your car, you will still be subject to these restrictions, so it’s worth knowing when these days are so you’re able to alter your plans to suit. You should also consider obtaining Mexican motor insurance as it’ll cover you for civil liability in case of injury or damage and having it alleviates the possibility that you could end up in a Mexican jail in the event of a car crash.

Road Conditions and Parking

The road conditions in Mexico are generally much poorer than you’ll be used to in the UK. You should be aware of the problem of numerous potholes on the road and general deterioration in conditions. There are often slow moving vehicles on Mexican roads and you may find that you want to overtake them. Use caution when doing so. Many drivers there don’t have insurance and you’re taking a risk if you put yourself in danger of a possible collision. You’ll also notice that many drivers go through red lights and change lanes suddenly without indication – stay alert. Parking is often haphazard and you’ll find that it’s fairly limited. It’s not unusual for people to block you in, so be careful where you park and try and stick to allocated parking spaces.

If the car you’re in has seatbelts fitted, make use of them. Keep your distance from cars in front as they often stop without warning and many don’t have functioning brake lights so you have no advance knowledge they’re about to stop. Look out for livestock also – Mexico often has livestock roaming freely on the roads so watch out for that if you’re travelling at speed.

Safety While Driving in Mexico

There are numerous stories of individuals being robbed in their cars in Mexico and most people who are planning to drive there have some level of apprehension. Generally there are some tips that you should follow to keep yourself safe:

  • Lock your car as soon as you enter it and keep it locked for the duration of your journey
  • Restrict your driving to daylight hours if possible
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers in any circumstances
  • Don’t stop for any large rocks or other objects placed in the middle of the road. Drive around them slowly if possible. They’re often there to force drivers to stop
  • Keep your windows shut if possible, especially when you’re stopped at traffic lights
  • If you’re planning a long trip, always let someone know where you are and when you expect to be at your next destination
  • Be aware that even roads marked as two lanes can often be used as three or four lane roads

Renting a Car in Mexico

If you’re planning to rent a car in Mexico, make sure that you organise it with a well-known international rental agency. It’s tempting to go local to avoid high costs, but often the cars may not be up to the high standard you expect and you’ll also find that the insurance may not cover you for every eventuality.

  • Generally if you rent a car using your credit card, it will provide insurance, but get Mexican car insurance anyway
  • Look the car over for EVERY scratch or dent before you sign for it. Make sure it’s all written down and only sign when you’re confident that you haven’t missed anything
  • Be prepared to pay a hefty deposit if you don’t have Mexican insurance
  • Remember that many regular cars there won’t have all the luxuries of UK cars, so expect a manual car with very few extras as the normal rental car

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I have also travel to Mexico and read about this recommendation of BestMex, they do provide excellent service, always answered my questions, really dependable, thanks for the previous info.
Charlie72 - 8-Sep-14 @ 5:15 PM
I can provide another tip that in my experiene it's worth mentioning, buy a car insurance, it's best to have it and not use it, that to need it and not have it. Bestmex, as for the moment, it's the #1 on my list, reliable, great prices, and the coverage it's amazing.
Mikey Fields - 7-Aug-14 @ 12:49 AM
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