Driving a car offers better flexibility for every traveler on vacation. With a car, you can enjoy your time and worry less about your transportation schedules. However, some people step back from driving in some places since it’s unsafe. Thus, if you plan to visit Cancun, you may wonder if driving there is safe.
It’s generally safe to drive in Cancun, but it’s a bit more challenging due to the high level of traffic and the attitude of Mexican drivers, both buses and taxis. Nonetheless, Cancun’s streets are safe for driving, and we recommend renting a car if you visit nearby towns for day trips.
If you are planning to bring your car or rent one, you’ll need some insights to know what to expect with the streets of Cancun. This way, you can prepare yourself before driving to the streets of this city and exploring the whole place on your own.
Let’s get started!
Is Driving to Cancun Safe?
If you plan on visiting Cancun by riding a car, it’s perfectly safe, even for tourists. But, of course, as a driver, you must be responsible by preparing and taking precautions, especially if you’re not from Mexico.
Now, if you’re planning such, it would likely be a long ride to Cancun. So, to ensure safe travel, use toll roads as much as possible, and avoid driving alone during the night.
What to Expect When Driving in Cancun
If you plan on driving in Cancun, one of the ways to prepare is by familiarizing yourself with its streets. If you’re not from Mexico, you must familiarize yourself with traffic rules and abide by them. Further, you need to know what you can do to stay safe as you drive.
Here are some things to expect when driving in Cancun:
Bus drivers can drive like crazy
Buses are one of the most popular transportation methods in Cancun. So if you’re driving in this city, expect lots of buses sharing the streets with you.
Since they’re used to the city and drive large buses, the drivers tend to do whatever they want. Among these include stopping in the middle of the road and even places without bus stop signs.
The bus drivers will also cut in your lane, switch whenever they can, and can abruptly step on the gas whenever they want. Thus, if you’re driving in Cancun, it’s best to keep your distance to avoid unwanted incidents.
Taxi drivers can be rude
Taxi drivers in Cancun are known for being corrupt, especially since they are unregulated. Thus, most travelers avoid taxis as much as possible.
Now, while commuters avoid taxis, you should keep your distance if you’re sharing the streets of Cancun with them.
Like bus drivers, taxi drivers tend to stop whenever they want. They will do so if they see a potential ride or want to stop for no reason.
When it comes to these drivers, the last thing you’ll want is to get into an accident with them. If you do, some other taxi drivers will arrive at the scene and tell the police to say it’s your fault. For this reason, the last thing you’ll want is to drive side by side with taxis.
Some police officers are corrupt
Due to the low wages of Mexican police, most in charge of the streets give tickets and ask for bribes to keep up.
When the police see you’re a tourist, chances are they will find any fault or violation with you. As such, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the traffic rules of Cancun. Also, it’s best to keep your distance from the police to avoid such.
Now, if you get pulled over and do nothing wrong, you can refuse to bribe, and the cop will likely let you go without giving you a ticket. As long as you know the rules, you can defend yourself, and the cop will likely let you go.
6 Safety Tips When Driving in Cancun
If you’re driving in Cancun, here are some safety tips that can help you:
1. Look Out for Hazards
If it’s your first time driving in a Mexican city or area, you should expect to find topes from time to time. Topes are speed bumps that vary in size, and in Mexico, these bumps are almost unnoticeable.
Such speed bumps can damage your car if you hit one at full speed. So while you won’t find them on highways, you’ll find some big ones in the city.
Another thing to look out for is potholes, which are common on highways. If you hit one at full speed, it can also damage your car.
In short, always keep your eye on the road to know if you need to slow down when approaching these things.
2. Always Drive Slow
Since you’re unfamiliar with the road, driving in slow is best. However, please don’t go too slow, as it can also be dangerous.
Always check your speed to ensure you don’t give cops any reason to pull you over or give you a ticket.
As I mentioned earlier, cops patrol the roads often, and they can pull you over even with the slightest violations, so be mindful of it.
3. Pass Carefully
It would be best to refrain from overtaking as much as possible and only do so when you have a clear path. In general, you won’t find stiff shoulders on these highways. However, you may encounter some ditches.
For this reason, you must be sure of space before passing another car. If you misjudge, it can be challenging to return to your lane.
4. Don’t Drive at Night
Cancun is known for its parties and nightlife, so driving at night is something you’ll want to avoid. In general, most fatal accidents in Cancun happen during the night.
Some factors include drunk drivers, unnoticeable potholes, lack of reflective lines, and cars without headlights. If you want to go out at night, it’s best to plan.
If you’re visiting the famous spots in Cancun at night, it’s best to ride a bus back to your hotel rather than drive. But, of course, this one applies if you have plans to drink even a little bit.
For instance, you can enjoy the 24/7 operation of buses in Cancun. Read about Taking a Bus in Cancun to learn more.
5. Be Extra Careful on Sundays
If there’s one day to be extra careful when driving in Cancun, that would be on a Sunday since it’s the typical day off for locals in Mexico.
Since most people have a day off, you’ll find more vehicles on the street and more drunk drivers on Sunday night.
It’s also best to be extra careful during paydays, such as the 15th and 30th of each month. The reason is that many locals tend to party and enjoy themselves during such days.
6. Drive Smart
If it’s prohibited in your country, it’s also prohibited in Cancun and other areas of Mexico. Such a principle applies even to driving. As such, it would be best always to drive wisely and make wise decisions when you drive.
For instance, as a rule, please take it never to drink and drive, use phones while driving, and neglect seatbelts. In addition, always be mindful of traffic rules, which will give you a pleasant vacation by avoiding traffic fines and unwanted accidents.
Be prepared for emergencies
As I mentioned earlier, you have no reason to be fearful, even if it’s your first time driving in Cancun or any place in Mexico. However, it’s your responsibility always to be prepared in emergencies.
If you are in an accident or encounter any trouble on the road in Mexico, you can dial 911 for emergency assistance. On the other hand, you can call the roadside assistance company Green Angels at 078 if you’re driving on a toll road.
Driving in Cancun is safe, and you shouldn’t have any reason to fear such. The same standard rules apply in driving to every place in the world, and as long as you understand these rules, you can peacefully drive along the streets of Cancun and other areas of Mexico.
With these safety tips and basic knowledge about the streets of Cancun, you can prepare yourself and handle any driving situation you may experience in the city. Now, if it’s stressful for you to bring your car but still want to drive, you can always rent a car. Here’s the Best Car Rental in Cancun to help you find excellent options.