Driving to Mexico? Beware of the Mexican Tope or Speed Bump

Tope street sign in Mexico

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately that talk about the 'tope' or Mexican speed bump. I thought this would be a good time to explain it in detail to those of you who plan on driving to Mexico.

Topes come in all shapes and sizes and are constructed of various materials: concrete, asphalt, metal. They can be marked with a sign (as shown right) or painted, or not indicated at all.

Topes are used the same as they are in the U.S., to slow down your vehicle. Driving over topes in Mexico can be a bit more challenging than speed bumps in the U.S., as they tend to be larger—at least that's been my experience. If you drive over a tope too quickly, depending on your vehicle, you could inflict some damage.

Topes are usually not located on main roads, but on city roads where businesses, schools, pedestrian crossings, intersections or other dangers require a vehicle to slow down.