Rules of the Road–Driving in Mexico Part 1

Driving in Mexico holds an adventure all its own. While we have relatively limited driving experience here, we have accumulated some observations that we believe can be helpful to those who follow. We certainly wish we had had some warning of the differences between driving here and driving in the U.S.

We were reminded of this yesterday when we mounted our first expedition to attend the Met at the Movies series at Teatro Diana in Guadalajara. Coming out of Chapala, it’s a straight shot up a divided four (and sometimes six) lane highway past the airport and in Guadalajara Centro.

We rely on Google for directions here. And yesterday, Google routed us off that main highway, saying that there was a major accident causing at least a half-hour delay to our destination. So we followed directions to skirt the accident. It worked by taking us into an industrial area of the city. Lots of turns and lots of……….speed bumps.

Yes, speed bumps. You can find yourself cruising along a Mexican road, could be one of the excellent toll roads, could be a crowded city street, when, bam, you hit a speed bump.

Here in Chapala, we’re used to them. We know where they are and we slow to a crawl to cross them. It’s just become a habit. Yet, when we venture outside Chapala, it’s easy to forget that speed bumps are not unique to our chosen city. They are a feature of driving in Mexico.

And yesterday, we were not so nicely reminded of this in making that detour in Guadalajara.

Some of them are indeed just bumps. Others are, if not speed mountains, at least hills. You really know it when you hit on cruising along at 40 or 5o mph. Gut-rattling to be sure.

Now, some of them are marked by the universal yellow warning sign. Others may be foreshadowed by a warning painted on the pavement if you are paying attention. Others simply appear. No warning.

Experience has taught us it carefully watch the traffic ahead of and around us. Especially the semi’s. In the U.S. if we were driving on a divided four-lane and saw a semi slowing (braking), we’d take a careful assessment of conditions and merrily pass, assuming safe conditions.

In Mexico, we have learned the hard way that the semi driver knows the route and is likely alerting us to the dreaded speed bump.

In the U.S., the few speed bumps one encounters are usually painted bright yellow.

Not so here. Indistinguishable from the road. Rarely painted. And when painted, a relatively dark grey.

So, be careful out there driving in Mexico.

And speed-bumps are just one difference. In future posts, I’ll let you know about others we have experienced.

3 thoughts on “Rules of the Road–Driving in Mexico Part 1”

    1. Thank you, Linda. Much appreciated. If you’re driving from the airport to Chapala, you’ll be on the roughest main highway we’ve encountered in Mexico. Desperately in need of re-surfacing. The local press says that the state (Jalisco) has allocated funds for its repair for this year. We sure hope so! And, if you come right into Chapala, where that main drag ends, just as you get to the Soriana mercado (you’ll see it coming up on the left as you come into Chapala), please know there are little speed bumps on the main road right in front of Soriana and several as you come into the main part of town. Enjoy your time here! Spring is blossoming and the malecon is ablaze with flowering trees.

  1. Haven’t been to the Chapala are since 1982. I’m coming back to Mexico to live. I don’t know where yet. Thanks for your wonderful words.
    John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.