Mexico Road Safety: Part V
By Dorothy Bell
People are Getting Killed
I have no doubt that people are getting killed and that the true numbers are escalating. The gangs are out for the lucrative trade routes and territories. They are professionals that are trained to shoot and kill their enemies – rival gangs and any legitimate police or military that would get in the way.
- Travel if you feel comfortable. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is 100% safe, no problem, all is good. While it is VERY likely that you will NOT experience anything out of the ordinary, there is no point going if you are too nervous to enjoy yourself.
- If you are flying, get a taxi that is authorized from the airport.
- Don’t have anything to do with drugs. Stay away from places that look risky. Frequent tourist places in open, good areas of the destination. Ask the desk clerk at your hotel if you are in doubt.
- Take busses that travel in daylight hours.
- Drive out of border areas as quickly as possible. Make your first destination as far away from the border.
- Drive on the main highways well into daylight hours. While we used to start at 6 am, we prefer more traffic now, so will start our day at 8. We quit earlier too. Of course, don’t drive at night.
- If possible, drive with another vehicle. This will give some confidence if nothing else. If there is a breakdown, you can have some immediate support.
- Have a Mexican Cell phone. Get a throw away unit, pay as you go, to assist you if there is an emergency. Have the emergency number 078 for the green angles to help with vehicle breakdowns, or 066 in case of an emergency on your speed dial. The cheap cells cost about $30 USD.
- Don’t display your wealth anywhere. A big stuffed wallet doesn’t impress anyone; it just makes you a target. Have one wallet with 500 pesos or so with smaller bills and any other money you have tucked away somewhere safe. Don’t bring your precious jewelry or any other items that you cannot afford to lose.
- If you are in an RV, don’t boon dock. Not at a Wal-Mart. Not at a Pemex. Not at a beach. Select the campgrounds that you will hit and stay there.
- Have a plan in case there ever was an “unauthorized roadblock”
Our plan for an unauthorized roadblock:
We always plan for the worst case scenario so this conversation of course came up. We figure our lives are worth more than our processions so we have adapted the following plan for ourselves in case of an assault via an unauthorized roadblock.
- Don’t try to outrun or break though the barrier
- Keep your hands on the wheel or on the dash in a visible manner.
- Don’t stare or otherwise appear that you are trying to identify the culprits.
- Wait for instructions to get out of the vehicle.
- Hand over anything they ask for.
We would suggest that this plan would be good for any country…Mexico, Canada, the US or Europe. We do not know or have heard or read of anyone who has been hurt if they pose no resistance.
To assist road travelers, we have set up a bulletin board. We are not interested in the immigration debate, gun control or whether you think there is a conspiracy to keep folks from travel in Mexico. The board is for people who want to travel to Mexico and want the best and most recent advice possible about road conditions and safety.
We can also say that we hate message boards where people hide behind assumed identities and bash individuals or groups. We are NOT here to do that. We want a board where people are responsible for their statements especially because this has to do with safety. We also want people to contribute. If you subscribe to this board then we expect you to participate. Participation means writing your own road report and submitting it as soon as you get to your destination.
Please go to www.mexicoroadtrips.com and sign in. Let us know when you are crossing and if you want company. Report back as soon as you arrive at your destination. Have a pencil and paper while you drive to take note of authorized roadblocks, or anything out of the ordinary. There have been many floods this year. Let others know about detours, broken-up roads and other natural hazards.
You can contact Bill and Dorothy Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org