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Mexico Guru

Cruising Baja: Road Signs and Driving Tips

Some of Baja’s road signs are pictorials: a bar and wavy lines means vado, a desert depression or wash that may or may not contain water. Near the U.S. border you may find signs in English, but many are strictly en español. Below find a translation of the most commonly seen signs.

Why not print out this page and take it along on your upcoming road trip? Besides informing you of important information, you can quiz other passengers or the driver on Spanish vocabulary. Those who speak Spanish fairly well can challenge themselves by converting the formal commands to informal statements. For example, the formal statement “No rebase” would be “No rebasa” as an informal command.

Have fun, and drive carefully!

To calculate your driving time or fuel costs click here.

Driving Tips

Baja’s Highway 1 is almost exclusively two lanes, and barely wide enough for a large truck or camper, with no shoulder. It’s extremely important to drive absolutely sober and wide awake.
Watch for wandering cattle, horses, goats, and dogs as there’s much open range land.
Avoid driving at night when possible.
The usual speed limit on Baja’s Hwy 1 is 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour, with 60 kph (37 mph) the posted speed on some stretches and 40 kph (25 mph) around tight curves.
All curves are not created equal. Approach each bend in the road with caution, as not all of the most dangerous ones are marked. Crosses by the side of the road are memorials to drivers who have not “made the grade.”

Important Caveat: The left turn signal means different things to different people. Mexicans, especially those driving trucks or other large vehicles, often use their left turn indicator to tell the driver behind them that it is safe to pass. When a driver unfamiliar with this practice uses his or her signal in preparation for a left turn, the driver behind may attempt to pass. Be aware of traffic behind you as you attempt left turns in Mexico, as this particular form of miscommunication can lead to injury or even death.

Road Signs in Spanish and Their English Equivalents
Spanish English
Este camino no es de alta velocidadThis is not a high-speed highway
No rebaseNo passing
Curva peligrosaDangerous curve
Avistamiento de ballenasWhale-sighting area
Ponga la basura en su lugarPut trash in its place
Concede cambio de luz Dim your lights for oncoming traffic
Obedezca las señales Obey traffic signs
Utilice el cinturón de seguro Use seat belts
No maltrate las señales Don’t mess with road signs
Grava suelta Loose gravel
Tramo en reparación Road repairs ahead
Máquinas trabajando Heavy equipment ahead
Guarde su distancia Don’t tailgate
Precaución: zona de ganado Caution: open range
Si toma no maneja If you drink, don’t drive
Con neblina encienda sus luces Turn on headlights when foggy
Respete los límites de velocidad Respect posted speed limits
Termina puente en construcción End of bridge construction
Puente Bridge
Puesto de control militar Military checkpoint
Gracias por usar el cinturón de seguro Thank you for buckling up
Topes Speed bumps
Un solo carril Single lane ahead
Desviación Detour
Disminuya su velocidad Slow down
No deje piedras sobre el pavamiento Don’t leave rocks on the highway
Conserve limpia la carretera Keep highway clean
Más vale tarde que nunca Better late than never!
Zona de vados Washes in area
Cruce de peatones Crosswalk
No rebase con raya contínua No passing on solid line
Precaución extrema: orilla peligrosaExtreme caution: dangerous shoulder
No se estacione en curvaDon’t park on a curve
Termina acotamientoShoulder ends
Carreteras limpias son mas segurasClean highways are safer
Precaución: maquinas trabajandoCaution: machinery working ahead
Cinturón de seguridad obligatorioUse of seat belt mandatory
No maltrates las senalesDon’t damage road signs
Precaución: zona de derrumbesCaution: landslides possible
No circule por acotamientoDon’t drive on shoulder
Modere la velocidad, su familia le esperaSlow down, your family is waiting for you
Con niebla o lluvia enciende sus lucesTurn on lights when foggy or rainy
Carril izquierdo solo para rebasarLeft lane for passing only
Principia tramo de cuotaBegin toll road
No deje piedras sobre el pavamientoDon’t leave rocks on highway
Use acotamiento para emergenciaUse shoulder for emergencies
No exceda los límites de velocidadDon’t excede speed limits
Transito lento carril derechoSlower traffic use right lane
No tire basuraDon’t litter


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