October 7, 2012

By Hugh and Carol Kramer

Once you cross the border into Mexico, you will immediately know that you are no longer driving in the United States. You will need to be a more cautious driver south of the border. The need to be a very alert defensive driver is greater than north of the border.

With this extra caution and the use of common sense and good judgment, you should have a wonderful time driving the magnificent peninsula. Don't do anything in Mexico that you wouldn't do in Canada. No guns, ammunition or drugs are allowed in the country.

Remember that you are a guest in this warm, hospitable country. Please be respectful of the people and their different lifestyles, customs and traditions.

Always wear your safely belt---it's the law, and you can be pulled over and ticketed for violations. Do not leave keys in your car; don't leave cameras, iPods, or such items in view when you leave the car. And always remember to lock your car just as you would at home.

Mexican highways can be full of surprises. Although Mexico 1, the trans-peninsular highway from Tijuana to Cabo is in relatively good repair and is undergoing continual improvement, there are still stretches where it is very narrow (as you will notice when sharing it width with a semi-trailer), has no shoulder and might be very windy with no guard rails to keep you from plunging off the road.

Many signs will tell you that the highway was not built for high-speed travel. Besides cows, who prefer the warm asphalt to the cold desert floor at nighttime, you will be sharing the road with burros, goats, horses, bicycles, and slow-moving, broken-down “clunkers” which may have one, or no dim headlight and often no taillights.

DO NOT DRIVE AFTER DARK. If, due to poor planning, you are forced to drive in the dark, do so slowly and with heightened awareness. The best advice is to have a good map and plan your day so as to arrive at your day's destination while there is still daylight.

Play by the rules, be well insured, and you should be able to enjoy a marvelous trip to this magical land we call Baja. ¡Buen Viaje!

Hugh and Carol Kramer are founders and owners of Discover Baja Travel Club.  For 21 years they have been providing Mexican insurance, tourist permits, fishing licenses, information and assistance for travels to Baja.

October 7, 2012

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