I told you I would get back to that seemingly dry subject of driving in Mexico. So here we go. Now the Germans might have invented fast driving and Autobahns, but the Mexicans I daresay invented creative driving – and that is so much more fun!
If you want to drive like a Mexican, you have to have guts. And some dinero in your pockets in case the police doesn’t approve of your new driving skills. Then the road is yours! A three-lane road and you are in a hurry? Make it a four-lane road! Just don’t use your mirrors, or better: just close your eyes, ignore the other drivers and GO!
A red traffic light and you don’t feel like stopping? Well, then don’t! Reduce your speed and then slowly and carefully continue crawling along. Honestly, the others will happily brake for you and hardly anyone ever honks. If you by all means have to stop at a crossroad, be smart. Practice your eagle eye vision, carefully observe the traffic lights and after a couple of weeks you might feel it: Any moment now the signal will switch and give you the go-ahead. So don’t be a cissy, show the others that you are a traffic light connoisseur and slowly start driving until you are in the middle of that crossroad… Then when you see the other cars starting, step hard on the accelerator – and you will be the winner!
Nevertheless, there are some rough guidelines you should follow: You can use your indicators if you must. Just not for indicating a direction change, please. You can use them to confuse other drivers (it only works with newly arrived expats or tourists, though). Or you just switch on the warning lights at all times which is also a great tool to confuse tourists and it might give you a little more space on the road.
Speaking of space, if you let more than 5 inches come between you and the next car, you can be sure there will be at least three cars squeezing in in front of you. So keep close!
Speed limits are good. We like the signs, they add some colour to the boring road and we appreciate the effort somebody made to propose an appropriate speed. But you can always add at least 15 mph, you don’t want to slow things down, do you?
Only if you see a speed control, you should indeed slow down. It so happened to me one day that I got stopped by the police. Of course, I knew that by making a little contribution to the next office party, you can get away with almost anything – but how to do that? And in Spanish!
I have a soft spot for Mexican policemen I have to say, they are so friendly and they look cute in their uniforms! So quickly, I was surrounded by five cuties, they all had to bend down a little since I was driving a mini, my first rental car here. And all five kept telling me that I had been going to fast! Oh dear. Would I please hand them over my papers and I could pick them up at the nearest police station upon paying my fine. Nah, that wasn’t what I had expected. So how do you bribe? Why hadn’t anybody ever told me how to properly buy my way out of an uncomfortable situation like this? Would I have to wink? Bat my eyelashes? Wave some pesos notes?
Luckily, the boss arrived and off they went, those other five. El jefe shook my hand which I took for a promising start. I tried the eyelash batting and asked whether there was any chance I could pay that fine right now, right here, in cash? Well… What can I say? I got a 50% discount, el jefe was happy, I was happy and when I was driving away all the policemen were waving their good-byes. And I felt it: Now I was a proper Mexican driver!