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Driving in La Paz, Mexico

Driving in La Paz and Baja California Sur

La Paz’s road system is predominantly grid based.  There are a number of artery roads which allow for faster travel throughout the city.  Typically these are one way, two lane streets, and typically have priority over connecting streets although where these streets meet with other artery roads you will either have a full stop or a 4 stop junction.

 

Full Stop Junctions:

(Red Octagonal Sign marked “Alto”)

A full stop junction works very similar to those in the United States however for those of you traveling from elsewhere we will cover these briefly.  At these junctions slow down and stop at the line, if marked, or slightly before the passing traffic.  Check for the direction of traffic and when clear to drive, cross.

 

If a pedestrian is waiting at the side of the road it is expected that you wave them across once you are stopped or stopping.

 

4 Stop Junctions:

(Red Octagonal Sign marked “Alto” with a rectangular sign below marked “4 Altos”)

At a 4 stop junction, priority is based on who arrives at the junction first.  Typically these are rolling stop junctions rather than a hard stop however when there are other cars or pedestrians at the junction a standing stop is required.

 

If multiple cars are at a junction, either having arrived at the same time or when cars need to turn across the line of traffic it is polite to signal to other cars, with an open palm gesture, to indicate that you are allowing them to proceed first.

 

If the car in front of you has not cleared the junction before another car arrives at a different side of the junction, it is polite to gesture to them to proceed even if you have technically been waiting longer.  This typically allows the junctions to flow smoothly.

 

There are occasions  particularly on the Malecon road, where cars will signal turning traffic to allow them to cross.  Although not required if traffic is moving slowly this helps to allow traffic on the other side to flow more quickly and is therefore regarded as good practice.

 

Pedestrian Crossings:

Typically pedestrians will cross at junctions, often marked with yellow pedestrian crossings.  Where traffic is moving slowly, for example on the Malecon or other populated areas crossing is typically easy and cars will gesture pedestrians to cross.

 

This being said where cars have priority and the traffic is flowing quickly cars will not always stop unless you make yourself seen.  We recommend walking a little further until a junction where the traffic is required to stop or slow down, this makes crossing much safer particularly if you are walking with children or have trouble crossing quickly.

 

If you are ever in an accident in La Paz

If you are ever in a car accident in La Paz, do not move the vehicles at all, even if they are blocking   the traffic. Wait for the police to come. They will determine fault. You will need to show them your rental agreement and insurance papers.

There is a possibility that you could be taken to the police station.

In any case, we suggest you call Simon or Dianne so they can come to the scene ASAP to assist you.

 

If you are ever pulled over by the police

If you are ever in the unfortunate circumstance  of being pulled over by the police for committing a traffic violation.

Always take your ticket and pay ONLY at the police station.

 

We truly believe that although not necessary, having a car for your vacation will give you a much more enjoyable experience.  As many sights and destinations are 15 to 25 minutes away a car makes things much easier, especially if you have children or your Spanish is not so strong.

If you need any help making a reservation we are more than happy to help, so just let us know and we will help out.