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Driving in Mexico on the Tollways

This item I wrote for a private mailing list, and am simply pasting it here, information on driving in Mexico.

The Doctor and his wife, my best friends in this mountain village, were gone some
days after school was out for the summer. I thought the wife would be
gone even longer, because she had plans to visit her little
grand-daughter in Puebla.

After market today, I was downtown looking for my phone bill. No luck,
so I decided to walk down and see the doctor.

To my surprise, his wife was back, too.

We were all glad to see each other. They said they had been to Vera
Cruz, on the ocean. I joked how fast they made it back. They both
laughed, and said, no, it was not the usual, incredible three hours,
more like 9 hours.

They were on the cuota west of Vera Cruz, in the left lane, and he saw a
rock the size of a soccer ball laying in his lane. No where to go, and
he concluded, correctly, it was better to hit it square, and keep the
car stable, than to try to dodge it and lose control.

Well, it took out the motor. It went underneath, and kept making banging
and grinding noises until they got stopped. Plus there was oil strewn
all over the highway.

After some discussion, they called 074, the cuota emergency number, and
asked for a towtruck. The operator told them, “No, wait, if you have
your toll ticket, the insurance will pay for it. I am sending the

When they told me this, she laughed and said, “Something in Mexico that
actually works.”

The insurance adjuster came, took pictures, called a tow truck, and had
the car towed into VW in Orizaba. VW looked at it, and said it will
need a new motor. And, it will be free, including towing, as part of
the Federal toll fees.

I said, “New motor? Not rebuilt or used?”

They said, “No, a new motor.”

I laughed and said, When my Sienna motor gets shaky, I think I’ll go rock
hunting on the cuota."

They got a bus from Orizaba, to Tehuacan. In Tehuacan, they called a
taxi in our village to pick them up in Tecamachalco, the closest bus
station to home. At that time of night, the rural buses are shut down.

When they got to Tecamachalco, the taxi was waiting and an hour later
they were home. The 60 mile round trip for the taxi cost them less then
$20. The usual 5 hour trip usually takes him 3 hours, in this case
they hit the rock at 2 pm and were not home until 11 pm.

Still what they thought was going to be a financial disaster will in the
end cost them very little.

She told me when I write about it on the Web, to be sure to tell people
two things.


  2. When you drive on the Federal cuotas, do not discard your toll ticket
    until the trip is finished.

The Doctor went down to wait on a patient. I asked her, “How fast was
he going?” Because he usually drives like Juan Manuel Fangio. She
laughed and said, less then 70 mph. Turns out it was wet, and on the
curving roads, he was only driving 110 kph. Very unusual.

Un-freakin’-believable. Great story!

To be totally honest, they found it unbelievable, too. They were delighted but very surprised, and she said please let people know the cuota ticket in Mexico insures your car against road hazards.

Let’s see. Hmm… it’s about Mexico, and it’s on the internet. How could it not be true? I’m all in!

Moments like this CAN happen in Mexico…The country is reeling from the collapse in tourism caused by the drug wars which dominate the news reports. Getting a story like this out into public view goes a long way to restore visitor confidence. Driving the Mexican toll roads is EXPENSIVE so it’s not surprising that users demand safe, hazard-free conditions on these heavily traveled and patrolled roadways…The good PR generated by this incident was worth every penny of the cost…

They took a taxi to Tehuacan Saturday to pick up the car, because no time to take the bus with a 2 pm closing at VW, then got a bus to Orizaba. They drove on to Vera Cruz, and discovered damage to the power steering pump. VW in Orizaba was already closed so he simply paid for a shop to put in a new pump. He was so happy with a new motor, he didn’t mind the small cost involved.

Later, they realized the starter makes a squealing noise when they start it. When he gets a chance, he will have it looked at, and if needed he will have it replaced at his own expense.

If they had picked it up on a weekday it would have been fixed as part of the insurance. So, it was his own decision to just pay for the items missed by the dealer.

She said he was driving very slowly to break in the motor.

She commented how much better gas mileage it got now. I laughed and told her that may be because he was driving much more slowly now.

She said that motor had like 270,000 km on it, which makes it a really good deal to get a new one.