Mexican Insurance Store News and Information
Story by Jim Foreman
Mexico is a great country for overland travel. It’s got a well-developed highway system and wonderful cities and places to visit throughout the country.
Motorists and truckers generally like motorcyclists and can often make for a more pleasurable journey.
Riding a motorcycle is different from riding in the USA or Canada. Americans and Canadians are sticklers for rules and right-of-way. In Mexico, driving priority is primarily based on who is bigger and who is there first.
While not exhaustive, these secrets will enhance your journey and increase the number of friends you make.
- Wave to military vehicles, truckers, children in cars, drivers when you pass them, and of course other motorcyclists. A simple wave or better yet, a peace sign is a perfect way to demonstrate respect and mutual camaraderie.
- Passing is an art in Mexico. If you are on a two-lane road and you want to pass, flick on your left turn blinker and let the drivers ahead know your intention. They will often pull over to the right a little bit to allow you to pass ahead. If a vehicle wishes to pass you, do the same. Move over to the right and let them.
- When passing trucks, even in your lane to the left of them, flick on your left-hand blinker as you approach and pass. This alerts them you are there and keeps you visible to them.
- Never pass trucks or vehicles on the right shoulder. This is the first place they will go to make room for emergency vehicles or to let others pass.
- SLOW DOWN when approaching and within a town or city! This is very important for several reasons. There are often bus stops, gas stations, and topes (speed bumps) as you approach towns. This is also where both Policía Municipal and Policía Federal like to wait with radar guns to catch speeders. Slow it way down.
- If you are at or below half of a tank, fill it up at the next Pemex station. The next one may be many miles down the road.
- Take signs the read ‘Aguas’ and ‘Curva Peligrosa’ seriously. ‘Aguas’ means ‘Heads up’ or ‘Pay Attention.’ Also before certain corners deemed ‘peligrosa,’ there are often rumble, strips, which can seriously affect traction and control.
- Be friendly at Pemex Stations. People will come up to you and ask the size of your engine, how much it costs, how fast it goes, and often if you like Mexico. These are very typical questions and don’t feel weird about answering them.
- DO NOT RIDE AT NIGHT. This is a big one. When riding toward the end of the day, hold your hand out with three fingers showing. If the sun is at or below your fingers from the horizon, you have 15-20 minutes to find a place to stay the night. Do not continue. Road hazards, livestock, and in some regions, criminal activity become acute at night. Find a hotel and enjoy a good dinner.
- Lane Sharing and lane filtering are OK, and drivers are typically quite good about it. Don’t abuse the privilege drivers give you to pass. Do it safely and discretely. Be sure to wave and thank the drivers who make room for you.
- Drink about half a liter of water every time you stop. Many riders crash and suffer significant injuries and sometimes fatalities due to dehydration. A simple way to tell if you are properly hydrated is that you need to use the restroom at each stop and your urine is a light color. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.
- If you see a rider on the side of the road or a motorist in need, stop if it is safe, to see if they need help. There may not be mobile reception, and you may be the angel of the day. They will stop for you if you are in trouble, too.
- Ride with your chin up and always scanning in the distance for hazards, errant drivers, debris, accidents, and animals. Doing so will give you plenty of time to take evasive action and not become a bigger problem. Be careful not to daydream when riding.
- Flash your emergency lights to let other drivers or riders know of oncoming hazards or sudden stops.
- In windy curving roads and especially blind corners, take it easy and stay to the right. Large vehicles including buses and trucks will take those corners wide. Give yourself plenty of time and options to remain safe and happy.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but this should give you an excellent primer to riding safely and enjoyably in Mexico. Of course, it goes without saying to read Mexican Insurance Store News and Information and purchase quality coverage for your motorcycle when in Mexico.