Cabo Driving Guide

Driving in Mexico

Be sure that your driver’s license and registration are valid prior to driving into or within Mexico. Driving with insurance in Mexico is required. In case your vehicle gets stolen, being able to prove ownership will be expedited if you keep a copy of vehicle registration both in the car as well as an extra copy with you at all times.

When renting a car, carefully inspect it and note all damage. Confirm it has a gas cap and spare tire.

Car rental rate quotes rarely include insurance, which can double or even triple the amount paid. Mexican Car Rental Companies also require deposits.

The principal Auto Insurance add-ons are: (1) Collision Damage Waiver / Loss of Use and (2) Third Party Liability

Certain credit cards cover Collision Damage Waiver and Loss of Use. If not, you will have to purchase it. If your card covers it, you can decline the coverage. Do not be surprised the rental company still claims you must have it.

Credit cards WILL NOT provide Third Party Liability coverage. It is mandatory in order to rent and drive a car in Mexico. Your personal auto insurance policy back home in the U.S. won’t cover it on a rental car either.

Your U.S. auto insurance policy WILL NOT cover your own automobile in Mexico.

Driving/Safety Tips in Mexico

Speed limits are always stated in kilometers (1 mile = 1.6 kilometers). Yellow lights are not just cautionary and meaning to “slow down”, they are a signal to stop. Citations are given for right turns on red lights, even though you might see this  being done quite often by locals anyways. Left lanes or “fast lanes” are considered passing lanes in Mexico, so make sure if you pass someone to move back into the right lane thereafter. Make sure to keep a look out for hazardous signs and constructions sites as they can come up suddenly with limited warning. Similar to the United States, using a cell phone while driving is a violation in Baja California and you may be cited. Keep an eye out for cross walks as in many areas, the pedestrians have the “right-of-way”. Vehicle malfunctions in Mexico are very common such as brake lights being out so be cautious and try your best to avoid accidents. The Angeles Verdes (a.k.a “The Green Angels”) help patrol the roads frequently and will offer free vehicle assistance. For roadside assistance, don’t hesitate to call Baja California’s Tourist Assistance Hotline which is simply 078 anytime from 8am-8pm Monday through Friday and 9am-1pm Saturday and Sunday. There is also a Travel Services Hotline in the Mexican Republic at 01-800-904-2700 OR 01-800-ACE-TOUR.

There are some odd driving practices in Mexico, like the left turn lane being on the right, in the right side parallel road, in many places.

Gas/Gasoline Stations

Pemex (“Petroleos Mexicanos”) is the Mexican oil company and has locations all across the country. Full service stations are the standard in Mexico. This includes service checks, window cleaning and manual gas pumping. Tips are also very much a part of what they get paid, so make sure to give them some change for their efforts ( but just leftover change, like a Starbucks or European tip, not 15%). There are 3 different types of gasoline available: Diesel, Premium (also referred to in slang as “Red” or Rojo) and Magna (also referred to in slang as (‘”Green” or Verde). Gas is measured in liters and not in gallons (1 gallon = 3.79 liters). Mexican gas stations are notorious for taking advantage of tourists, so make sure you’re watching the attendant as he pumps the gas to make sure he doesn’t try and charge you for more gas than was added and say out loud how much you are a\handing to the attendant (“Here is $20”) .It is customary to tip gas station attendants, especially if they clean your windows or check your oil, but only a small amount as in “keep the change” (like at Starbucks, for some of you).

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Cabo Gringo Pages – Cabo Driving Guide has the information and tips you need to drive in Cabo San Lucas Mexico.