Driving in Mexico

Find out about toll roads, speed limits, traffic signs and parking rules that apply in Mexico...

Which side? Like most countries in the world, Mexicans drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Toll Roads

The Mexican constitution states that drivers must have the option to travel around the country without paying charges for toll roads. There are, however, a large number of toll roads in Mexico (autopistas/carreteras de cuota) which often run alongside the free roads (carreteras libres). The toll roads are often much faster and better maintained, but can be relatively expensive.

In Mexico, North-South motorways are numbered unevenly, while those going in an East-West direction are numbered evenly. Toll roads can be distinguished from non-paying roads as they have the letter D next to the road number, for example, 84D.

Nationwide, the toll roads are overseen by CAPUFE (Caminos y Puentes Federales de Ingresos y Servicios Conexos)

CAPUFE provides details of the roads it covers and the costs involved for toll roads on highways and at bridges. (PDF in Spanish).

The Ministry of Communications and Transport (Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes) provides a useful interactive journey planner, showing roads, distances and the cost of toll roads and bridges (website in Spanish).

Speed Limits

The maximum speed limit on a Mexican highway is 110 Km/h.

The speed limits for cars are generally as follows unless indicated otherwise:

  • Main roads, up to 70 Km/h
  • Built up areas (vías locales), up to 40 Km/h
  • In or near school, hospital and pedestrian zones, up to 20 Km/h

Traffic Signs

Traffic signs are generally divided into three types:

  • Informative (blue): Blue signs help locate and identify points of interest and services
  • Preventative (orange and yellow): These signs give drivers warning that some preventative action must be taken, for example road works, school crossings and speed humps
  • Restrictive (red and black): These signs direct traffic, and include speed limit signs, Stop signs (ALTO), and Give Way signs

Topes - Speed humps

Speed humps are known as topes in Mexico and can be found on roads all across the country except on toll roads. Topes can be a major hazard for drivers as they are often not sign-posted, and even then their variations in size can cause drivers and their vehicles serious problems if care is not taken when driving over them.

Parking

Cars may not park where signs prohibit it. Double-parking, or parking on sidewalks, and parking in front of any disabled access areas is not permitted.

There are a number of different parking options:

  • Free of charge street parking
  • Parking meters (parquimetros or estacionómetros), which are becoming increasingly common in parts of Mexico City
  • Car parks (pensiónes) - either large-scale machine automated or smaller privately run car parks where keys are left with the attendants
  • Valet parking, often the least official way. The workers known as franeleros take your car and park it for you for a fee

Parking fines

Many states allow parking fines and other driving penalties (infracciones de tránsito) to be paid online. The option to do so, as well as local addresses where fines can be paid, can usually be found on the state government website.

  • See how much a parking fine in Mexico will cost on the Angloinfo Fees and Fines in Mexico page