México Driving Tips

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Escrito por El Atun Grande desde (dsl-201-124-102-67.prod-infinitum.com.mx) el día miércoles, 15 de febrero, 2006 a las 22:58:39 horas :

I´ve put in over 40,000 miles on Mexican roads in the last year, so I thought I would pass on a baker´s dozen tips for those of you braving the highways south of the border.

1.It always pays to take the toll roads. Unless you are retired, and have a lot of time to travel, want to see off the beaten path México, or in desperate need of saving money, you can save hours by sticking to the ‘Cuotas’ Even if you have to drive twice as far.

2.Avoid ‘shortcuts’. They will rarely ever save you time.

3.It will always take twice as long as it looks on a map. Mexican maps usually fail to show topography. Count on any shortcut winding through the mountains. Example: Huatulco to Oaxaca. It is only about 160km, but takes a good six hours. You have to cross a long, high, mountain range to get there.

4.If you see a goat crossing the road, prepare to either stop or take evasive action. The rest of the herd is close by.

5.A burro walking freely is nobody’s animal. If you hit it, it’s everyone’s.

6.The size of the tope is inversely related to how well it’s marked. This is especially true at night on shortcuts!

7.Topes can be your friends. Stuck behind a double trailer overloaded with scrap metal? Pass him at the tope. You may get a bit of a bump, but worth the time you save.

8.Distance to destination signs are meaningless. There is an example of this on the road from GDL to Colima, where you actually get further away as you get closer (defying physics). This is due to the fact that they never take down the old signs when building a new highway. Reminds me of Ireland.

9.If you do violate rule number two, or if you have to take a route where you pass through a town enroute to a city (i.e., Morelia to Queretaro), follow a semi to find the way. The through routes are notoriously NOT marked through most small towns.

10.Sunday afternoon and evening the percentage of drunk drivers increases alarmingly in Mexico. Be aware and stay al3rt.

11.Road kill is not cleaned up. Be aware of animal pieces hitting your car. This really happened to me. I had a headlight broken out by a piece of bone from a dead dog in the middle of the highway leading out of Uruapan. A truck ran over carcass, threw the bone up in the air, I hit it.

12.There is a reason they make the two lane autopistas (i.e. Hwy37 between Lazaro and Morelia) extra wide. If you are driving on one of these, it is okay to move over to the shoulder if someone is trying to pass you. Otherwise you might have a front row seat to a game of chicken between the pickup on your left and the car in the oncoming lane who is trying to pass that bus (who is traveling on the shoulder where he should be).

13. If you drive at night, be prepared for retinal burns. The signs on the autopistas and highways that say "Concida el cambio de luz" (basically dim your headlights) are there for a reason. Most drivers will come at you with brights on.

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