May 20, 2003, 11:09 AM
Post #12 of 22
Topes: Many of the topes are unauthorized, about six months ago, the mayor of Mexico City announced in a televised speech that he was going to have all the unautorized topes in the city removed. He estimated that 40% of the topes in the city were illegal. So far, we haven't noticed a single one having been removed.
Re: [elcomputo] I have arrived/Topes & driving stuff
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Because there are so many unauthorized topes, that explains why if there even is a standard for building them, there are so many varieties of them. I have even seen one made of stones, cemented together. It also explains why so many of them are not painted with the warning stripes, and there are no signs advising you of topes ahead.
You will sometimes see topes, usually in residential neigborhoods, where the residents have broken the tope enough to drive through them. After you have driven in Mexico for a while, you will be able to recognize at a glance which topes you only need to slow down to 5 or 10 MPH to glide over them, and which ones you need to come to a screeching halt and get out the ramps to climb over them.
Mexican drivers: I believe that many, if not most Mexicans buy their drivers licenses. Many years ago, I mentioned to my wife that I didn't know how most of the drivers in Mexico ever passed their driving test to get a license.
She gave me one of those "Oh you poor baby" looks. I said, "They do require a driving test don't they?" She replied, " Well, you have already paid the man the money to get your license, why take a test?" That explained a lot to me.
Driving: "Defense driving" takes on a whole new meaning here. It can save your life. Drivers will do the stupidest, riskiest things at high speeds here, you must learn to expect the unexpected. If you think another driver wouldn't posibly try a suicidal manuever, be prepared. Eventually, one of them will do it.
You soon learn that turn signals are used for many things besides occaisionally being used to actually signal a turn. They are used on the highways to tell you it is OK to pass. The problem is that many drivers turn them on, and leave them on for hours. I doubt that those drivers are actually aware if there is oncoming traffic or not. I never pass anyone relying on their turn signals for confirmation that it is safe to pass. Occaisionally, there will be a driver with his hazard warning lights blinking. He is telling you that it is OK to pass him on either side.
Four years ago, one of our nieces in Cd. Victoria totaled her Dodge Cirrus. She said she was passing a truck when he made an unexpected left turn. Her car ran under the trailer. I never said anything to her, but I would bet the rent the trucker signaled for a left turn, and she thought he was telling her to pass him.
Nothing in this post is a complaint. They might be gripes, but they are not complaints. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change things here. Nor should we try to. It is a different culture here. The only thing we can do to preserve our sanity, is to adapt to the conditions of this country, where we are guests. If we can't adapt, we will never be happy here.
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo