If you take road trips, you probably begin to become familiar with portions of the drive. Familiar stops, sights and sounds might greet you on your journey. Even if you are an American driver traveling in Mexico, you likely will begin to recognize portions of the drive. However, like with any long drive, drives into Mexico will pose safety risks, including the risks of vehicle breakdowns. If you aren’t in an area where you can easily get help, however, you might find yourself in need of assistance. What can you do to protect yourself in these cases?
During any road trip in Mexico, it’s important that you carry Mexican car insurance. However, it’s equally important to put together a safety kit to carry in the car. If you have essential vehicle necessities within your car, you might be able to prevent a small problem from getting too big.
Safety Risks When Driving in Mexico
When traveling in Mexico as an international driver, you will probably see numerous similarities to driving here in the States. Therefore, just as you’ll face driving risks in your own neighborhood, you’ll also face driving risks south of the border.
However, the difference between local driving and driving away from home (international driving, included), is that when you aren’t close to home, you are not familiar with the area in which you will travel. Even if you have been to the area before, it’s still not the same as a place you travel every day. If you were to have a breakdown, you might not know who to call for help. You might not know where to go to get a tank of gas, or to have a tire changed.
All the same, you do have resources available to help you in these situations.
If you have Mexican car insurance, which Americans driving in Mexico must, the policy might contain a roadside assistance supplement. With this portion of your policy, you can call the insurer, and they can dispatch a mechanic to your aid. They might help you change your tires, deliver gas, arrange tows or make small repairs.
Furthermore, if you are traveling on certain federal highways in Mexico, the government supports a roadside assistance program called the Green Angels. The Green Angels are trained mechanics who patrol major roadways, and can offer assistance to stranded motorists. Like your insurance’s roadside assistance coverage, the Green Angels can help you with the problems centering around breakdowns.
Still, there are other ways to protect yourself during your road trips. If you create a vehicle emergency kit, you can have a resource that you can refer to immediately in case a breakdown occurs.
The Necessity of Emergency Kits
Sure, you might be able to call your auto insurer or the Green Angels for help in case you experience a breakdown on a Mexican roadway. However, there’s always a chance that you might need assistance immediately, even before someone can come to your aid. It’s important to put together an emergency kit that you can pull out immediately when a problem occurs. It should include:
- Your insurance cards and the contact information of the insurer.
- A charger for your cell phone. Don’t forget to check to make sure that your cell phone will continue to work in Mexico. You might need a burner phone or a Mexican phone chip.
- A paper map, for cases when a GPS system is not able to work.
- An air pump and your spare tire, which should still be structurally sound.
- Small tools, like lug nuts and bolts, and a wrench.
- A small quantity of oil and essential fluids.
- A First Aid kit with a few necessities.
- A small amount of food and water, in case you need to wait for assistance.
- Cash, which you should keep hidden within the vehicle.
When you are waiting for help on the side of the road, don’t accept assistance from anyone except a police officer or a member of the roadside assistance service. Also, never leave the car to try to find assistance. Instead, stay with your vehicle until help arises.