driving in mexico is best described as an experience

driving in mexico is best described as an experience

Fast speed, lane weaving and passing without any consideration is definitely how I’d describe driving in Mexico. It’s no exaggeration to say that 95 percent of the population got their driver’s license by knowing how to drive around the block and nothing more.

Road tests are rare here, and while there are written exams, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has had to take one. In saying that, driving in Mexico is well, an experience and is something you will need to decide about if you buy a car.

Once you get used to the reality of it — lose everything you know about road safety and then completely ignore all the road rules you’ve ever learned. Now you’re getting the hang of it! I hate to admit this, but it is very easy to “get the hang of it”. It’s easy enough to just pass when it suits you, ignore yellow lights, speed up to make the red ones and park wherever the hell you feel like.

Truth be told, although I have picked up A LOT of the bad local driving habits, I still signal when I turn or lane-change and stop for red lights and stop signs. Those are probably the only proper driving etiquette I still have. The rest are gone.

The roads across the country are WHEW, really bad. Where I live, it’s always hot. And I mean HOT. The pavement here is about as thick as kleenex, which leaves the most used roads with deep rivets of well-traveled trails. A few months of heavy traffic like dump trucks and semis, the roadway is literally lopsided.

Roadway shoulders are a no-go here. Drivers confuse them with being another lane, so we just don’t have them. I mean there are some around, but….well….they really DO make for a good optional lane. You will need to learn to squeeze in and claim your full lane and a portion of the lane next to ensure you have enough room. It’s just the way it’s done. Follow the crowd and do as they do.

An example of what to expect along Mexico’s roadways

Pot holes are also a way of life as are uneven terrain, missing sections of roadway and open holes. Yes, open holes as in manholes and eroded roadway. They are common here and are rarely marked. They are found after someone, usually a moto driver, falls into one. And before you ask, yes. More times than not, an ambulance is required. But that is when someone will stick “something” in the hole in the middle of the roadway. That’s how it gets marked.

I’ve seen road holes marked with garbage, chairs, stolen city traffic signs, orange markers, trees, tires (the two more popular choices), old bikes and metal poles. Around the holidays, dead Christmas trees bearing a few unwanted decorations are a favorite choice. If it can go in the hole as a marker, it will.

This is one near my house. It’s on the corner of a very busy dirt beach road, and due to its popularity, the metal cover has collapsed. Since the city is obliviously not concerned about it, locals have taken to placing a wood post in the hole decorated with orange construction mesh and topped off with a bucket for good luck. Now everyone can see it! It’s been like that for nearly a year.