Driving in Mexico


European and Canadian citizens are allowed to drive in Mexico with their national driver's license. But different conditions may apply to other foreigners. Find out more here.

If you want to rent or buy a car in Mexico, you must be the holder of a valid driver's license. European and Canadian nationals are eligible to drive in the country with their original driver's license. But they are also advised to inquire on existing regulations before setting out to drive. As for other foreigners, they may have to obtain an international driver's license. In all cases, you have to be cautious before setting out to drive.


Some documents are compulsory if you have a car or if you wish to rent one, for instance, your driver's license, the vehicle's registration certificate or the rental certificate. You shall also be in possession of a national identification plate, an insurance's certificate, your passport and a procuration document if the vehicle belongs to someone else.

 Good to know:

If you are neither a European nor a Canadian citizen, you will have to apply for an international driver's license with your home country's transports authority. The international driver's license is valid for three years.


Mexico has quite a few road and traffic regulations which you have to know in order to avoid any penalty. First of all, only a maximum of 0,08 % alcohol in the blood is accepted if you are compelled to undergo an alcohol test. Moreover, wearing the seat belt is compulsory. As regards motorbikes and auto-cycles, wearing helmet is compulsory both for the rider and the passenger.

On the other hand, less than 5 years old children are not authorized in the front seat. To be eligible to drive, you have to be more than 16 years old. Furthermore, those wishing to rent a car have to be more than 21 years old.

 Good to know:

Less than 25 years old driver's have to pay an additional tax, that is the young drivers' tax.

Recommended equipment

You are advised to be in possession of some useful equipment aboard your vehicle, for instance, a warning triangle, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a security vest coat if you are riding a motorbike.

These could highly help in preventing road accidents although they are not compulsory.

Speed limits

Speed limits in Mexico are as follows:

  • 40 km/h in city centers and neighborhoods
  • 70 km/h outside the city center and in outskirts
  • 110 km/h on the highway.

You are also advised to respect alternating traffic days which are determined according to the vehicle's registration plate.

Practical information

You can find numerous petrol pumps across most Mexican cities. Moreover, petroleum price is quite low in the country. For instance, you could pay some 150 to 200 pesos for a fill-up. However, you will have to pay in cash as most petrol pumps do not accept payment cards.

Toll posts are indicated on toll highways. You can pay in cash or in small dollar or euro notes. Expatriates prefer toll roads for their security aspect. Moreover, any damage, including towing, will be taken care of by the road maintenance company.

In Mexican cities, drivers stop at the red lights which are found next to crossroads, just like in the US. Some cities are closed to road traffic during the weekend. You have to inquire about these beforehand. You could have to make a U-Turn. As for main roads, U-Turns are prohibited.

On the other hand, you may find obstacles and holes on secondary and narrow roads. You will note that many Mexican drivers do zigzags on the road. In fact, they are not racing but avoiding holes and obstacles. Moreover, you have to beware of pedestrians, particularly kids, as well as animals crossing the road.

Useful advice

You are advised to avoid driving at night in city outskirts due to lack of visibility as well as security threats.

As regards road signs: a diamond-shaped sign with a yellow background indicates danger a few meters away while parking spaces are indicated with a ''E'' sign. Other warnings are indicated on a diamond-shaped sign with a circular paint.

You are also required to be very careful while passing another vehicle, trucks in particular.

You are strongly advised to subscribe to an automotive insurance. Otherwise, you will be eligible to penalty in case of accident even if you are not at fault. According to the Mexican law, the insurance should be signed with a local insurance agency.

Emergency numbers

066 - All emergencies
068 - Fire services
060 - Civil protection
114 - Red Cross
5250-8221 – Angeles Verdes (emergency services on all toll roads)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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