manejar en Mexico (Driving in Mexico)

As a novice American tourist, I had much to learn about driving in Mexico. These are my observations. Let me know if I missed anything.

1. The streets are never paved with Aztec gold. They are commonly “paved” with dirt. And potholes. And dogs. (And other speed bumps.) Plus stray cinder blocks, lumber or the catch of the day.

2. Speed limits. Mexican speed signs vary from 20-90 km/h. So there I was, driving from 0-10 mph (the presumptive American equivalent), until I figured out that these must be minimums. And that I could more easily convert “km/h” to mph by simply ignoring the “km/h” part. So on the highways, the actual limit is “ludicrous speed” (according to my research).

3. Brakes. Mandatory for tourists who don’t understand “metric speed.” Not required of locals.

4. Tail lights. As more of a decoration than a functioning device, these are strictly optional.

5. Turn signals. Qué es ésos? (What are those?)

6. Traffic lanes. May double as parking lot/ bazaar. Right in front of you when you’re on a beer run. Or trying to catch up to your boss. Compliance with lane markings is voluntary.

7. Centerlines/passing and no passing zones. More of a suggestion really.

8. 4-way stops. Same. Just fly on through assuming the other three directions of traffic will stop. They won’t, but neither will the driver behind you, who doesn’t understand the meaning of brake lights that work, having never seen them before

9. Yielding to oncoming traffic. Uh, no.

10. DUI enforcement. Apparently not. Fortunately.

11. Toll booths. They are everywhere. Look for the kids with squeegees, the 150 year old lady with a can, or the line of dudes with pylons in the middle of the road. They will take care of it, and maybe even give you salmonella an authentic tamale as sort of a Chingate thank you.

12. Ample Parking, day or night.

Chill out, homes. You can slide a blade between them

13. People shouting “Howdy neighbor.” Actually, I think they shout “eso es una calle de sentido único, usted Pinche Cabron” more. At least at me.

14. Night driving. Not recommended, unless there is a “full moon.” And it belongs to your secretary.

So, basically, everything is nearly the same as driving near my house in South Phoenix.

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