Our San Diego auto accident attorneys know that many drivers in Southern California take day trips to Tijuana, Baja California in Mexico. While a trip south of the border can be quite enjoyable, an auto accident in Mexico can be a logistical nightmare. Besides the different laws and government, most people don’t know that their American auto insurance policy might not help them if they get into a car crash in Mexico.
With that in mind, we have some ways to help make sure that you don’t run into auto trouble in Baja California. These 10 auto accident prevention tips come courtesy the San Diego Reader.
1. Check if your auto insurance policy will cover an accident in Mexico BEFORE your trip.
Your American auto insurance policy may not cover you in an automobile accident in Mexico. If you are found liable for your car accident, you are required to show financial responsibility before your release. If you do not have the adequate auto insurance, you apparently must show at least $5,000 in cash to prove your “financial responsibility”.
If your auto insurance policy does not cover you in some areas of Baja California, the Reader recommends purchasing a Mexican insurance policy that charges around $12 per day, with decreasing rates for longer stays.
2. Write down your Mexican insurance policy number as well as the phone number of your insurance company.
Just in case. Proof of insurance will help the authorities and make your auto accident just a little bit easier to handle. The rules are different in Mexico because authorities can hold you until fault is determined in your car accident.
3. Try not to make any left turns on major roads if there are no turning lanes.
You will likely be considered at fault by the authorities if you are rear-ended by another car in this situation.
4. Slow down when driving through small towns.
Roads in Mexico are not as wide as they are in the United States, and roads with low shoulders are the top cause of car accidents in Mexico. Many street signs are covered by brush, but you will still be at fault for an auto accident if you run a stop sign.
Also remember that Mexico uses the metric system, namely kilometers instead of miles. You don’t want to be driving 100 MPH in a 100 KPH zone. A quick conversion method — from KPH to MPH — is to take the KPH, multiply by six and drop the last digit. For example, 100 KPH is approximately 60 MPH.
5. Lookout for speed bumps.
Just like in the U.S., speed bumps can do serious damage to your car if you don’t see one coming.
6. If possible, take the toll roads.
Although you’ll need to have some spare change or cash handy, these roads are safer to travel.
7. Tourists’ cars stand out and often targeted by criminals, so if your car has an alarm, use it if you’re in danger.
Mexico is a third world country and, due to the drug cartels, a dangerous place. Even though many people have traveled across the border safely, you still need to be very careful. Therefore, if you ever sense danger, don’t hesitate to use your car’s alarm to alert help.
8. Avoid on-street parking.
Foreign cars are often the target of auto theft, so you should be as careful as possible where you park your car.
9. Only stay in hotels that provide parking security 24/7.
Since we already know that tourists are often targeted by criminals, make sure that you are staying in a hotel that provides adequate security. Many cars get stolen in hotel parking lots, so you don’t want that to happen to your car.
10. If you sense anything or anyone suspicious, then calmly leave the area and alert the authorities.
Mexico is going through some tough times right now. You don’t want to get caught up in it on your vacation. Be careful, be cautious and be prepared so that your trip to Mexico is fun and enjoyable — not a nightmare.
If you were injured in a car accident in Mexico that wasn’t your fault and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in San Diego and find out how we can help you. There is no cost for your initial consultation, and there are no fees until we recover a fair personal injury settlement.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines