Driving in Mexico
What do I need to drive in Mexico?
U.S. and Canadian drivers licenses are valid in Mexico. The police sometimes ask foreigners to show some type of identification and proof of their legal status in Mexico. It is recommended you carry a valid photo identification and your tourist visa with you at all times while travelling in Mexico, or if going out on short excursions you may wish to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and important documents and leave the originals in a safe place. In case you are visiting a resort area, do not leave your belongings on the beach while you are swimming, instead keep your passport and valuables in the hotel safe. driving in mexico
When should I drive in Mexico
When Driving in Mexico you should limit you driving to daylight hours, and toll ("cuota") highways should be used whenever possible, rather than less secure free ("libre") roads. Overnight stops should be made only at major centers, reputable hotels, or secure campsites. In case of a vehicle breakdown or roadside emergency, a highway patrol service offered by the Mexican Ministry of Tourism called the "Green Angels" (Angeles Verdes) provides free assistance (they charge for parts only) on all major toll highways throughout Mexico. The telephone number is 5250-8221 (collect calls will be accepted if dialling from outside Mexico City - dial 01 and the area code 55 before the number). In an emergency, call the Mexican Ministry of Tourism's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 01-800-903-9200 or 078.
Highway conditions in general are good; however, unmarked or poorly marked construction sites, roaming livestock, abandoned vehicles, or other obstacles poses hazards. The Mexican style of driving and road standards are very different from the U.S. and Canada. Be aware of vehicles which do not observe speed limits and vehicles changing lanes without any indication and going through red lights. Keep your car doors locked at all times and the windows shut, especially at traffic lights where you can be a target for criminals. For emergencies, dial 060 , which is the equivalent of 911 in the U.S. and Canada.
Safety Tips for 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. Some helpful hints:
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
Gas Stations in Mexico
Petróleos 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 grades of PEMEX gasoline are:
PEMEXMagna is unleaded gasoline - 87 octane.
PEMEXPremium is unleaded gasoline - 93 octane.
PEMEX Diesel for diesel engines.