Driving Through Mexico: All You Need to Know

If you're planning on taking a road trip through Mexico, you'll want to be prepared for the journey. Mexican roads can be quite different from what you're used to in the United States or Canada. 

In this blog post, you'll learn about some of the common issues that drivers face when traveling through Mexico. You’ll also learn how to avoid these problems, and get answers to some of your other questions about driving in Mexico. Before you buy Mexican car insurance and hit the road, begin with some research. Let's get started!

Is driving in Mexico easy?

This might seem like a simple question, but it all depends on the section of the road, whether you're traveling a long or short distance, and the characteristics of your vehicle. Generally speaking,  the closer you are to the U.S.-Mexico border, the better the roads will be. However, this isn't always the case. There are some well-maintained highways in Mexico, but there are also plenty of potholes and unpaved roads.

The best way to avoid problems while driving in Mexico is to plan your route in advance and to make sure you're familiar with the roads. If possible, try to stick to the main highways. These are typically better maintained and have more services (such as gas stations) along the way. Avoid driving at night if possible, as this can be more dangerous.

Are toll roads in Mexico expensive? 

With the exception of Aguascalientes, Mexican highways and other toll roads are considered expensive. Toll fees vary depending on the route, the length of the section to the next exit or next major city, the distance traveled, and the type of vehicle. The term used for toll roads is ‘Cuota’ while free roads that run side-by-side are known as ‘Libre’. These are the major toll roads in the country:

  • Highway 1D
  • Highway 101
  • Monterrey – Nuevo Laredo (Highways 85D)
  • Monterrey – Saltillo (Highway 40D)
  • Chamapa-Lechería (Highway 57D)

How do you pay for tolls in Mexico?

As a foreign citizen, you should make sure to have a valid payment method and use pesos, instead of dollars. Most toll facilities don’t accept credit cards and US dollars. Here are some of the examples of electronic toll transponders in Mexico: 

  • IAVE – which includes automatic identification of vehicles, without having to stop at the toll booths
  • ViaPass – similar to IAVE, but with different options that allow you to use highways operated by the federal communications and transportation ministry (CAPUFE)
  • Tag-PASE – it’s another electronic toll collection device that can be purchased throughout Mexico
  • Telepeaje-Chihuahua (Chihuahua Electronic Payment) – with this tag installed, you have the option to use the most exclusive lanes in the State of Chihuahua

Is there a speed limit in Mexico?

Yes, there is a federal speed limit in Mexico. Whether you’re driving a motorcycle, van, or regular passenger vehicle, the maximum speed on two-lane highways is 90 km/h (56 mph). The speed limit is 90-100 km/h on major highways in urban areas and up to 110 km/h (62 mph) on major open highways. It’s reduced to 40 km/h (25 mph) when passing through built-up areas. Drivers caught speeding may have to pay a fine or be incarcerated.  The amount of the fine will depend on the state you're in and how much over the speed limit you were going.

How can I benefit when buying Mexican car insurance?

When purchasing your policy from Oscar Padilla Mexican Insurance, you can be sure to be fully covered in cases of emergencies, accidents, vehicular malfunction, or carjacking. We have a long history of helping US motorists across the border and get back safely from their Mexican adventure. With over seven decades in the business and counting, we can ensure that you’re fully covered in all cases. We’re also happy to share our insights when it comes to border control, swimming resorts, and your personal safety.

Just give us a call, or order your policy online. Download it, print it out, and have a pleasant trip! We’re always here to answer your questions!