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Just how safe is driving in Tijuana and Mexico?

By Larry Crowson

Mexico is enchanting. It is not the cost of living that continues to attract us, but rather the way of life. We enjoy the warm climate, friends, sand between our toes, golfing, fishing and outdoor activities. Our lives are significantly simpler than they were before we semi-retired here six years ago.

The real hazards of Mexico's roads!

We find most Mexicans honest and hardworking. They have a love for family and a love for life. We count many as friends and trusted colleagues. There are bad apples and good apples in any barrel, but I feel that Mexicans get a bum rap in the news up north. The country is historically intriguing. We cannot get enough of the pyramids and colonial cities, the pageantry of parades or the small and large fiestas and local celebrations. We envy the Mexicans’ deep family roots and love for each other and their children. Mexico is about family values and believe me, Mexicans hate crime just as much as we do.

We feel safer in our little town and in most places we visit here than we do when we travel and visit many cities and towns north of the border. Having said that, we recognize that things have changed in the minds of many folks north of the border due to false and not factual reporting from the major news outlets like Fox or ABC.

Facts are, the US government wants to scare you, hoping to keep your US Dollars at home. I have lived or traveled around Mexico extensively for 7 years now and have never seen any crime or drug cartel activity.

We have given daily thought to how we should advise people regarding road travel and safety in Mexico. While we know a great deal about driving in Mexico, the highway system, rules of the road etc., we are NOT experts in law enforcement.

We do however have common sense and with our Mexican driving experience, we can tell you when we think something is fishy, not quite right, or altogether wrong. You use common sense don’t you at home when you’re driving?  Well, you should do that here in Mexico or anywhere you are in the world.

If you have traveled before to Mexico, then we believe you will not see anything different from your previous visits. We traveled thousands of kilometers during the summer of 2010 and did not see anything unusual except that the Mexican government is spending billions on new highways and improvements. Mexico’s roads are truly nice to drive on for the most part. We have gone out at night to restaurants and bars but as always, stick to the more savory side of town. Exercising common-sense precautions, as we would in any place unknown to us, we have been and felt completely safe. We don’t drive in many areas of Portland, Oregon when we are visiting there either.

During the past few months, we have talked to senior Mexican authorities, those involved in the tourist sector, hotel and RV Parks as well as gas station attendants and friends and family. Everyone has feelings of uneasiness and trepidation. We are definitely NOT saying no problema…..we are saying WE HAVE HAD NO PROBLEMS.

As avid road travelers in Mexico, we have never seen a carjacking, a phony roadblock, or a murder. We have crossed using the Tijuana, Mexicali, Nuevo Laredo and Nogales border crossings. This summer alone we traveled nearly 7,000 miles without incident. The only difference we can see at the borders between this year and the previous years are that tourist traffic has been reduced.

There is no evidence to show that tourists are being targeted. The reported violence generally takes place in border areas and in isolated spots throughout the country. So, with this in mind, use your common sense and enjoy all that Mexico has to offer.

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