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Bloviator

Nov 12, 2007, 10:51 AM

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Mexican Drivers

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The truth is out. One doesn't have to know how to drive to get a license in Mexico. Therefore, it is safe to assume that one doesn't have to know how to drive to drive.

While I don't think the new effort represented by the following article has much to do with reality in the short term, it may be a promising start for some real changes in the future for driving in Mexico.

As I drive around Lake Chapala and throughout Mexico watching the total anarchy of the driving scene, I often think that it is just the inevitable result of the lack of any awareness of and failure to enforce the traffic laws.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20...n12mexdriv.html


(This post was edited by Bloviator on Nov 12, 2007, 10:54 AM)



robrt8

Nov 12, 2007, 6:15 PM

Post #2 of 44 (9674 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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That was an amazing article Blov! Concerning defensive driving, I've driven in Mexico City and Bali, Indonesia. Now THAT is defensive driving (Bali). Other drivers believe in reincarnation and I don't.


Oscar2

Nov 13, 2007, 10:03 AM

Post #3 of 44 (9621 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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Quote
They suspect that more motorists are simply paying bribes to keep the points off their records.



Interesting article. The severity of a pending threat to lose your license will definitely increase the size of the Mordida. It can work either to control bad driving and improve driving habits on one side of the coin or increase the lining the policias pockets much more efficiently.


Quote
“Anybody who drives here can drive anywhere in the world,” Vargas said, “because here we have learned defensive driving.”



After driving in the heart of Guad in the middle of rush hour for about 2 weeks, its like no place else I’ve ever driven, defensive driving is putting it mildly. How about Nascar driving instead. One thing for sure, if you become good at driving Guad, anyplace else seems like a piece of cake.


Bloviator

Nov 13, 2007, 12:12 PM

Post #4 of 44 (9613 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Mexican Drivers

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I felt the same way when we first came here. Now, I find driving in Guad to be no problem. I even know how (I hope) to avoid being stopped and having to make the huge moral choice of whether to let the policeman take my money or to pay a fine and let the bureaucrat steal the money from the fine.

For me, it is driving slow as possible, keeping my head on a swivel, and making sure to have my route clear in my head (from the Guia Roji). However, I have to admit that I often get lost and have to go round and round to get on the correct street going the right way.

I actually enjoy driving in Guad, but I'm a pure masochist. Of course, when I'm driving home from some medical procedure and sort of groggy it can get a little hairy.

Please. Please. Please. Let's not turn this into another long and impassioned discussion of mordida and the morality of paying it.


(This post was edited by Bloviator on Nov 13, 2007, 12:13 PM)


Oscar2

Nov 13, 2007, 12:37 PM

Post #5 of 44 (9604 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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Ditto on the moral bit about La Mordida! Someone on this board once said, always carry 200 pesos in your shirt pocket for emergency purposes ………

The onslaught of memory failure plagues my day-to-day existence but worse when driving a new city like Guad can make my teeth chatter. Fortunately, before I left on my last venture I purchased a very good Gaud map SD chip that slots into my GPS that made life so much easier.

What was hilarious was the Mexican street name pronunciation, which it literally murdered.


Bloviator

Nov 14, 2007, 5:50 AM

Post #6 of 44 (9548 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Mexican Drivers

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Unfortunately in Puebla and again in Ajijic, the only emergency money I had in my pocket was a $500 peso note. stupid.

The joy of driving in Guad and most other Mexican cities is playing hide the street name while your head is turning to avoid getting hit, etc. It is amazing the tiny signs that are available and the very creative places they place them.


drmike

Nov 14, 2007, 7:20 AM

Post #7 of 44 (9536 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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I agree with what's been said, driving in Mexico is quite a challenge with the rolling stops, challenges from oncoming traffic as you try to go around parked cars, passing on blind curves; but one thing I noticed this week as we drove from Toluca to Guadalajara and back is how few cars have dents! Somehow the drivers seem to miss each other.

In Phoenix, where we lived for 11 years, the driving is insane and most cars have dents in them from accidents. If you don't have a dent in your car in Phoenix, you aren't trying hard enough.
Dr. Mike

http://www.smarthealthchoices.blogspot.com

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.


Hindu teaching



Brian

Nov 14, 2007, 8:53 AM

Post #8 of 44 (9523 views)

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Re: [drmike] Mexican Drivers

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I agree with what's been said, driving in Mexico is quite a challenge with the rolling stops, challenges from oncoming traffic as you try to go around parked cars, passing on blind curves; but one thing I noticed this week as we drove from Toluca to Guadalajara and back is how few cars have dents! Somehow the drivers seem to miss each other.

In Phoenix, where we lived for 11 years, the driving is insane and most cars have dents in them from accidents. If you don't have a dent in your car in Phoenix, you aren't trying hard enough.


Always remember when reading classified ads for used cars that "bien Tijuaneado" does NOT mean good. :-)

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Nov 14, 2007, 8:58 AM)


Oscar2

Nov 14, 2007, 10:12 AM

Post #9 of 44 (9506 views)

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Re: [drmike] Mexican Drivers

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When I initially rented a car for a month last November 06’ at the Guad airport, I asked the clerk how’s traffic these days and with a glean in his eye supported by a smile which seemed tacked together, in Spanish he said, you have to know how to drive REAL fast.

I instantly became very apprehensive beneath a veneer of not being affected by what he said and sort of nonchalantly closed the car door and left. When I hit the highway, right outside the airport, I was as tight as a knot, and his words came alive in my head as the honking and truck traffic smoke coaxed me to jockey for position. I new than that this indeed was a different brand of driving.

After a week or so, it became a competition between being a laid-back driver and a competitive, on point, speed freak laying to pop a wheelie if someone’s glare meant he/she wanted to jump in front of me. An 1/8 of an inch clearance relentlessly suggests an open invitation for anyone to jump in front of you with great flair and Nascar style.

As previously mentioned after a couple of weeks, yes you do sort of pick-up the gist of the road warriors and sort of casually jump in your car and step on the accelerator while you sort-of un-grit your teeth, and smile as if you’re now an old hand at it all…… ;-)

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Nov 14, 2007, 10:26 AM)


Georgia


Nov 14, 2007, 10:13 AM

Post #10 of 44 (9505 views)

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Re: [drmike] Mexican Drivers vs Boston drivers

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Sorry, Mexico loses. I drive in Guad all the time. I do admit I like having a co pilot to roll the window down and signal that we really do want to get in the right hand lane (we've never been denied, using hand signals... polite ones, even), and to search for where they've hidden the secret street name signs. I have a Garmin GPS system .. have to use it in Spanish, the English pronunciation is so laughable I forget to turn because I'm hysterical over the way it pronounces the street names. I find Guad drivers to be very accommodating when they know what it is you want to do. Polite even. And the Garmin helps figure out what street I am at, since the street signs are so cleverly disguised.

Now Boston: another story entirely. There, when they figure out what you want to do, they make every attempt to prevent you from moving into the lane or making the left hand turn. It's a contact sport. I mastered it by only driving my old beat up station wagon we used to go to the dump and park at the airport when I went to Boston. Then, when I wanted to merge onto the Southeast Expressway (express my foot!) I would wait for a really nice, expensive car, signal, move, and stare them down while I got on the expressway. Since my car was pre-distressed and customized by encounters with hard objects, and theirs were not, they knew I had nothing left to lose and would pause to allow my entry onto their misnamed expressway.


robrt8

Nov 14, 2007, 1:26 PM

Post #11 of 44 (9482 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Mexican Drivers vs Boston drivers

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Mastering that look of being an old hand. I work on that a lot. Biting my lip doesn't show - I hope..
I always wear dark sunglasses when I drive, even when the sun's long gone. I'm cut-off less. I've mastered the "I'm not lookin' where you're goin'" look.


JohnnyBoy

Nov 15, 2007, 12:58 PM

Post #12 of 44 (9408 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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I am glad now that I did not reply to Bloviator when he (I assume if he were a she the name would be Bloviatora) first began this thread. I have enjoyed reading the other comments, Georgia's in particular, so cleverly written.

I was positive I had gone to Inconsiderate Drivers' Hell when I started trying to drive in Hermosillo. First of all, it was as hot as hell must be, and the drivers were, without a doubt, the worst, most inconsiderate, most irresponsible I had ever seen.

I think I was spoiled driving in California for ten years where most drivers have learned that cooperation and courteous driving habits/techniques will move everyone down the road a lot faster and safer. Not so in Hermosillo. Every time I signal a lane change drivers in those lanes speed up to block my change. I don't quite understand that. I have learned a lesson from them and now, like they, I do not signal. I just change lanes. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of complaints I could lodge against drivers in Hermosillo and probably only the first of many good driving habits that I will have to unlearn and abandon in order to get where I need to go.

Italian drivers were, until recently, the worst I had ever had to deal with, especially those in southern Italy, Rome and Naples, in particular, but they are the Miss Manners of Driving Etiquette compared Sonorans.

jb


esperanza

Nov 15, 2007, 1:13 PM

Post #13 of 44 (9403 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Mexican Drivers

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FYI: the female bloviator is a bloviatrix.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









JohnnyBoy

Nov 15, 2007, 2:04 PM

Post #14 of 44 (9397 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Mexican Drivers

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Thanks for that tidbit. That is way more amusing than Bloviatora.

I guess I was shooting for the Spanish feminine form, a la professora/professor.

Thanks. Such fun.


Bloviator

Nov 15, 2007, 3:41 PM

Post #15 of 44 (9382 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Mexican Drivers

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Esperanza, if you weren't so filled with wisdom which you provide us with great care and paucity of excess words, I'd will you the name Bloviatrix just as the late (only to the forum - still ranting and raving elsewhere) great?? Bubba willed me his role as forum curmudgeon.

I'll even bring you cat food if I go NoB by car again soon.


(This post was edited by Bloviator on Nov 15, 2007, 3:42 PM)


ncferret

Nov 17, 2007, 2:24 AM

Post #16 of 44 (9290 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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I just had to post - priceless. I was hit by a kid on a motor cycle yesterday. He did a couple hundred dollars of damage to my car and his bike, but no one was hurt. I ask him for his license and he said he didn't have one, so I called the police. Within 10 minutes half the neighborhood was out to see what was going on and the kid's Dad showed up. I explained to the father that I called the police since his son had no license. He very politely said, and I quote, "That's because he's not old enough to get a license". It was all I could do to not to laugh.

Of course the kid had no insurance, the family had no money, and the local comandante explained to me that I could spend the next 2 months going back and forth to the local police station and then to court, but the family has no money, so why not just let them off with a stiff warning and if I see the kid on a motorcycle again I'll haul his butt into the station. Ni modo...


Oscar2

Nov 17, 2007, 12:46 PM

Post #17 of 44 (9250 views)

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Re: [ncferret] Mexican Drivers

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Based on the way you said it, it lacked the up tightness one would lean toward expecting. So typical, so Mexico, so much of knowing and having lived no other way of life, así es.

Good piece.


Brian

Nov 17, 2007, 2:12 PM

Post #18 of 44 (9236 views)

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Re: [ncferret] Mexican Drivers

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If you were a Mexican, the matter would have been handled differently. Other Mexicans would not have so quickly accepted as fact that the family had no money. Certainly not on the word of a cop! If the evidence at the scene indicated that he was at fault, the kid's moto would have been impounded until the matter was settled. This would have provided the family the incentive to either come up with the money to pay the damages to your car or lose the moto. Foreigners usually come out on the short end with respect to vehicle accidents because they don't understand the "system" such as it is.


(This post was edited by Brian on Nov 17, 2007, 2:19 PM)


Marlene


Nov 18, 2007, 8:39 AM

Post #19 of 44 (9169 views)

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Re: [Brian] Mexican Drivers

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Right, Brian. In fact the object is keep the traffic cops out of the picture, since it generally gets more costly and complicated when they become involved. The local "system" in cases like this seldom, if ever, involves court unless it goes immediately in front of a judge after the accident. I also wonder why in this case the transito didn't suggest impounding the bike. It's amazing how fast money can be rustled up by someone with incentive. The thought of losing the bike would have accomplished that, almost certainly. Even small payments (the local way) could have been made until the damage has been covered. There's usually always a solution which doesn't involve courts or police.

A young guy backed into the front of our vehicle at a stop light, late one night (in reverse by mistake and floored it, showing off for his friends!). He was not insured, but did have a license. The kid didn't want his mom, who owned the vehicle, to know about the incident mainly because he had been partying. He promised to make good the damage on his own in the near future. Unfortunately he had spent all his allowance for the week on women and beer. :-) The traffic cop who happened to be hanging around directing Saturday night traffic, told my husband to take the guy's drivers license home until he showed up with some money. That and the threat of telling his mother seemed like the best course of action, and hopefully a good lesson.


ncferret

Nov 18, 2007, 11:38 AM

Post #20 of 44 (9140 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Mexican Drivers

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Too bad Marlene and Brian weren't there to make sure this poor American wasn't treated better by big bad Mexicans that take advantage of us poor helpless Gringos.

"In fact the object is keep the traffic cops out of the picture". Marlene, I've never heard such poor advice given on this forum. Doesn't the LAW say you call the police when there is an accident - especially if you want your insurance company to cover the damage to your vehicle since the other party has none? Without a police report, GOOD LUCK getting your insurance to pay for an accident.

Look, I was alone in a rural colonia outside of the city of Mazatlan.
As it was, I had to chase the kid down after the accident since he tried to run. I tried to get the Dad or Son to give me a license - they emptied their pockets and had NOTHING. There were at least a dozen Mexicans surrounding the accident and when I tried to take the keys to the bike to prevent the kid (who was substantially larger than me) from leaving, lets just say it was looking rather ugly for the American in the midst of this situation. Calling the police seemed like a SMART idea and maybe saved this Gringo's butt!

Did I mention that after the police arrived, the kid was crying and the dad was showing me his callused hands and explaining he was just a field worker?
I always find it interesting when people offer advice on how to handle a situation when they weren't present at the time and couldn't possibly know the facts or feelings involved.

My choices were to go to the police station, or let the matter go. The police commander, a personal friend, advised me to let the matter go since both parties sustained about $200 US in damage. I guess I figured I could afford the $200 more than the kid and his dad. Not to mention the time I would have to spend to collect anything or the bad feelings I would have created.

As far as knowing the system, I do know how it works. This is the 3rd time in 2 years that I've been hit. In the previous 2 incidents the drivers had insurance and Transito issued citations to the other drivers. Their insurance companies agreed to paid for everything on the spot and there was no need for a trip to the station. As well, I've been a witness in another accident and got to see first hand how the whole police station thing works. Not a lot of fun for anyone involved. Its one reason why I pay for LEGAL services on my car insurance as well as the theft and damage.

I guess the point I was making about the Father's rather funny philosophical statement/outlook was lost on some...



Marlene


Nov 18, 2007, 12:03 PM

Post #21 of 44 (9130 views)

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Re: [ncferret] Mexican Drivers

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In my post I wasn't offering advice, David, but rather reiterating what Brian posted about the Mexican way of handling things. It's what I have observed on many occasions over the years, whether it be right or wrong. Mexicans tend to avoid involving the cops in all sorts of situations, and prefer to handle things amongst themselves. This could be for several reasons, but most probably in a traffic accident it's because many have no insurance or don't have their "tenencia" paid up. This complicates the original situation. I'm sorry for what happened to you. It's good you have coverage that will pay for something like that.


(This post was edited by Marlene on Nov 18, 2007, 12:06 PM)


Brian

Nov 18, 2007, 12:27 PM

Post #22 of 44 (9122 views)

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Re: [ncferret] Mexican Drivers

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There were at least a dozen Mexicans surrounding the accident and when I tried to take the keys to the bike to prevent the kid (who was substantially larger than me) from leaving, lets just say it was looking rather ugly for the American in the midst of this situation. Calling the police seemed like a SMART idea and maybe saved this Gringo's butt!




Your original post did not mention that you found yourself in a situation you found intimidating. Fearing for your personal safety, I think that you acted prudently under the circumstances. Nevertheless, I think that Marlene and I are correct in our comments about the way Mexicans themselves handle routine traffic accidents.


(This post was edited by Brian on Nov 18, 2007, 12:56 PM)


esperanza

Nov 18, 2007, 1:14 PM

Post #23 of 44 (9107 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Mexican Drivers

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Marlene and Brian are 100% right-on in their descriptions of the way accidents of this kind are usually handled in Mexico. After nearly 27 years here, I wouldn't handle a traffic accident any other way. In fact, several years ago I was hit head-on by a pickup truck driven by an unlicensed, uninsured adolescent. Fortunately his father, mother, uncle, and a couple of siblings were with him. When things stopped moving and we were all able to talk--and had sorted out that no one was hurt--the father looked at me and said, "Quiere hablar con los tránsitos o quiere que arreglemos todo entre nosotros?" (Do you want to call the police or do you want to handle this between ourselves?) I had the presence of mind to say "Entre nosotros, por favor."

The tow truck took my van to a mechanic (and from there the van went to a body shop). When everything was fixed--and it took a month--I ended up paying exactly 50 pesos for a light bulb that the mechanic had forgotten to replace. The father, a campesino not unlike the father of the boy who hit you, paid every penny.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Georgia


Nov 19, 2007, 7:05 AM

Post #24 of 44 (9043 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Mexican Drivers

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One of the peculiarities of the transito law, is that even if you are stopped at a red light and someone rear ends you, until matters have been sorted out, your car can, and often is, impounded. If this happens away from home, it can be a real nightmare. This happened to a friend of mine, where clearly there was no intimation that he had any fault whatsoever. The person who hit him had no insurance. After about a week, they came to an agreement, but it was a week without a car, at some distance from home.


Don


Nov 19, 2007, 7:52 AM

Post #25 of 44 (9035 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Mexican Drivers

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Many Mexican drivers know how to drive very well. They just don't use that knowledge. You can blame the transito for that problem. We had a relative that lived in Reynosa and was a captain in the state police. He said the Mexican drivers crossing the border into the U.S. drove very good, but on their return to Mexico, they then result to old driving habits. We used to have a saying in the U.S., "If you don't enforce the laws, they won't obey the laws". This is so true here in Mexico. Some towns where the laws are enforced, you find good drivers and other towns here in Mexico (where the laws are not enforced), you find bad drivers. Most towns fall into the latter category.
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