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While traveling in Baja is not the adventure it once was, it is still not what most people are used to in the states.

Emergency telephone numbers while on the road (can be dialed from any cellphone):

Tourist assistance dial 078 (bilingual)

Police, fire, ambulance dial 066

Do not drive at night!

While traveling in Baja is not the adventure it once was, it is still not what most people are used to in the states.

The major highways are paved and usually well maintained. The secondary roads are another story. Back roads often have numerous potholes or are not paved at all (another reason to pay attention to the speed limit signs).

There is seldom much of a shoulder on the roads. Be very careful if you drop a wheel off the road, many cars have rolled trying to pull back onto the pavement too quickly.

Drive during daylight hours whenever possible. At night you can encounter cows and other animals roaming on the highway, old vehicles traveling at slow speeds without lights and the notorious "cyclops" with a single, dazzling headlight that appears to be a motor cycle but is actually a 20 ton truck rushing towards you at 70 mph. One of the biggest hazards is caused by vehicles losing some or all of their load. It is not uncommon to come across a 4 x 4 piece of wood or a concrete block that has fallen off a truck, or a large chunk of tire tread. These obstacles can cause a lot of damage to tires and to oil pans of low-slung cars. Of even more concern is the fact that, when driving at night, a driver may only see such obstacles at the last moment. Frequently they swerve instinctively and this may cause an accident with oncoming traffic.

While driving in Mexico is relatively safe, accidents and breakdowns do occur. There are large stretches of uninhabited desert between the border and San Felipe so it doesn't hurt to come prepared. Carrying a few tools, blankets, and extra water is a good idea. If you do break down pull off the road a far as possible (don't get stuck) and wait. Call for assistance by dialing 078 on your cellphone if you have a signal. The highways are patrolled by the Highway Patrol (the PFP) and the Green Angles, both of which will not leave you stranded. While the Highway Patrol's job is much the same as in the US. the Green Angles have no US counterpart. They work for the Mexican Dept. of Tourism and their job is to patrol the highways and fix cars. Their time is free, parts you will be asked to pay for at cost.

Not all rules of the road are the same. A left turn signal on the car in front of you can mean the driver in the other car is telling you it is safe to pass as often as it means that his car is turning left. Consequently, on two lane roads with a broken white line, if you are attempting to make a left turn and another car is overtaking you from the rear you must pull over to the right and let the other car pass before making your left turn. Many four lane highways have a right hand pull off for making left turns. A single solid line marked on the road centerline is intended to notify you that this is a no passing area. A broken line signifies that passing is OK.

Also be aware that those speed limit signs with 80 on them means 80 kilometers per hour, not 80 miles per hour. Yes, you will see many people going faster than the posted speed limit but those speeds are set for your and others safety. It is worth remembering that the Highway Patrol here uses Radar! While it might look like you are out in the country, that small cluster of houses along the road is someone's town, with children and schools and grandparents and pets, just like your town.

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