Automobile Accidents

This article is supplementary to Driving. If you have not read it, we encourage you to do so. In order to better prevent you from having automobile accidents in Mexico, it is important first to take a look at what is available in terms of Global Information and statistics about this issue:

While in Mexico our statistical information is not as accurate as in the US or other countries, this is what INEGI–National Statistics & Geography Bureau- reported for the year 2004: 8,999 deaths on federal highways, plus 4,603 in state, municipal and other highways. The total being 13,602. All specifics, in a document entitled Housing, Urbanization:  in their Annual Statistics, PAGE 131. Security Corner’s basic message is that every person that utilizes any mode of ground transportation is exposed to a fatal accident, whether in the States, Mexico or any other part of the world. The U. S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that airbags installed in automobiles have saved some 10,000 lives as of January 2004.

Basic Recommendations

Thanks to www.solutionsabroad’sCars Section, these excerpts:

  • Always watch out for unlit cars, rocks, potholes, steep shoulders, deep gutters, and animals on the roads. You’ll sometimes encounter livestock and many dogs near urban areas when travelling along the highway (including many dogs that have been run over). You will also encounter speed bumps (topes) on the road and sometimes they are not visible, with either the paint having faded or the sign being absent. Expect possible drug and weapons searches conducted by police or soldiers, especially on roads near the U.S. border, along the Pacific Coast in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Jalisco and Sinaloa. Another hazard to beware of is the number of trucks on the road. They don’t always stick to the slow lane and one should always be careful when trying to overtake them, especially on single-lane roads. Mexico has an extensive network of toll roads (autopistas) and you should use these roads when available.
  • When driving in the city, rules are often laxly enforced and followed. It’s not a good idea to have too much faith in road signs and traffic lights. Many motorists disregard traffic lights or “stop” and “give way” signs and decide to stop or go upon their own intuition. A one-way street is not always a one-way street. Most motorists also forsake the need to signal any turn they may want to make so beware of this fact and make sure you always keep a safe distance between your own vehicle and the one in front of you. You should be aware and alert of possible abnormalities at all times – this is doubly valid at night-time and at weekends.
  • Should you be on a highway, when an emergency occurs dial 112 SEND if your cellular is part of the TELCEL program. It will connect you to the Federal Highway Patrol, a division within the Federal Preventative Police (PFP). If you are driving on a toll highway (or “cuota”) or any other major highway, you may contact the “Green Angels,” a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews. Their emergency number is 078. Avoid driving on Mexican highways at night.  Many U.S. citizens have died in recent years as a result of driving at excessive speeds, at night, on roads that are in poor condition or are poorly marked 

Your best protection against accidents, whether in a city or highway is –no question- to have proper car insurance, Click Here. I am sure you will appreciate this important information as well: Health & Safety Travel Guide

Mexican Legal System and Automobile Accidents

Also taken from our Cars Section: "If you experience an accident, the Mexican legal system requires all drivers involved in the accident to be detained until responsibility is assessed. In minor accidents, your insurance should cover the damage. Detention and jail can be expected if the guilty driver causes an accident that leads to loss of life, at least until he or she pays any fines or restitutes the victims' family." Every time police stop you in Mexico, especially if as the result of an accident, be prepared to present your driver's licence and Tarjeta de Circulación (car's registration). 

Mexico City

In 2005 a total of 21,706 automobile collisions took place in Mexico City. Some 13,000 persons ended up injured. Most of the accidents were the consequence of reckless driving by young adults, according to official statistics. Should you ever –as the consequence of an accident- require administrative assistance while in Mexico City in terms of issuance of licence plates, payment of fines, simply click on the link. The same if you are required to pay  traffic fines to the Mexico City Government: Infracciones al Reglamento de Tránsito

Preventing Accidents

  • Always have your car in the best of mechanical conditions. Read our article on Driving for additional tips. Make sure every time you get gas, have the attendant check brake fluids, oil, transmission and tyre pressure.
  • Carry on board a basic FIRST AID kit and learn how to use it. A flashlight and MOST IMPORTANTLY, your Insurance policy updated and the emergency numbers, handy. This includes your trusted physicians’, your kids’ school, home and others you should notify in the event of an emergency.
  • In case of an accident AFTER you’ve made sure no one is injured is to call  your insurance adjustor, notify him what happened. Annotate your policy number. In the case of group insurance the registry number that identified your individual coverage.
  • Provide all details pertaining to the car insured, such as make, model, color, licence plates.
  • Exact location –so he/she finds you- of accident.
  • Your cellular phone number.
  • If arrested or car towed away to police station, name of Colonia, district attorney’s office where you will make a deposition. Remember that your insurance agent is your best ally.

Basic Preventative Equipment

I re emphasize the above: Just like your car's spare tyre - check pressure once a month, to include all 5 tyres and look under the hood for automotive maintenance. In the trunk, ALWAYS keep in a bag these 10 basic documents, essential tools in any contingency: 1) your updated car insurance and emergency number, 2) a first-aid kit supplied with aspirin or pain killers & anti-swelling (Flanax, Celebrex or similar) medicine available w/o prescription in pharmacies, if you have it always carry a small cooler to place ice if you ever need it. 3) portable extinguisher (have it checked every 6 months), 4) portable flashlight & set of tools, a thick rope 5) drinking water & a cheap camera 6) pen & notebook 7) battery jumper cables, 8) a cellular phone (normally, with you; also, an extra car key in your wallet), 9) an updated agenda –in your cell’s memory- with office, personal contacts who to call in case of an accident and 10) below emergency telephone numbers.  

Magic Numbers

This information should be kept inside your gloves' compartment. It is YOUR responsibility to update these now and then. Numbers may change anytime. It’s a nice exercise, dial each number and make sure it works:

Mexico City - To report an emergency within the D. F. area, dial 060 or 061.

State of Mexico – If within this jurisdiction area, dial 01-800-5901000, then dial digit 1.


Phone numbers ALL tested & functioning as of April 22, 2008 to request help in case of car accidents in Mexican federal highways, report a crime, file a complaint against corrupt police officers (all services only in Spanish):

088  - From any landline 
Switchboard no. 5484-0490 (select service desired) 
Cell phone (Telcel customers only) Dial *112
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Should anyone wish to present notarized documentary evidence involving a complaint, this must be sent or taken to, in Mexico City:
Centro Nacional de Atención Ciudadana
Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Federal
América 300- 1er.Piso
Colonia Pueblo Los Reyes
Delegación Coyoacán 04330 
Official Website:
If for some reason visitors, automobile drivers have received a ticket for violation to federal traffic regulations need information:
Try 5841-4300 Ext. 242, 282 and ask for Lic. Ana Lidia Reyes. Business hours only Monday to Friday   

Medical – Our suggested Medical Advisor is Dr. Jorge Cervantes Castro, MD, a surgeon. He operates out of the ABC Hospital. His numbers are: Office 5272-3410, 5272-2244, 5596-0730. Radio 5208-7866 clave Alfa 2. The best hospital facility in Mexico for expatriates with proper medical insurance is also the ABC Hospital. Their 24-hour switchboard number is 5230-8000. Other options are the Metropolitano Hospital, 5265-1900 or 52651800 and the less-expensive Trinidad Hospital that specializes in orthopedics, tel. no. 5574-7633, 5574-7639. The latter two are located in Colonia Roma.

Mexican State Governments, follow the one that interests you and from their official Website download pertinent information. Courtesy by Wikipedia: English

Procedures to Follow when an Accident Occurs

In in an automobile accident, the first thing you must do is make sure no one is injured. Life is the most precious thing we all have. Make sure you are ok. DO NOT PANIC. Adrenaline pumping, state of shock, excitement, dead victims or injured bodies that follow any accident often do not let common sense take its course. After a collision, debris, cars' positions, dead victims, injured bodies or objects on the pavement may cause additional accidents. Beware of this. Please calm down. If need be, provide necessary first-aid. Fatal cases do not require assistance. Look after the injured, make sure this accident will not cause others. If unable to help, look for someone who can assist on site. Once most urgent life-saving steps have been taken care of, do this: 1) Immediately take descriptive note of cars involved, to include their licence tags, photos, if possible. 2) Reach in your glove compartment for your insurance company's emergency number and report the problem. Make sure you know your exact location. Follow (to the letter) your insurance agents' suggested route of action. 3) Take note of names of drivers, licence numbers. 4) If police arrive on the scene, car numbers, names of officers involved. 5) Take note of time, circumstances. At the first possible chance, call your family or office colleagues and let them know your exact location, in the event you need help. While volunteers may come to your rescue, NOT ALL of these may be well-intentioned! As sad as this may sound, beware of strangers who may offer you a helping hand. Use you judgment, intuition. 
In closing, if the contents of this article were useful, please tell your friends about the Security Corner monthly help column, and help us make the world just a little safer for everyone.

 ABOUT Security Corner: Legal Notice is found in Featured Articles page. This monthly column is the result of intensive research by Mr. Mario González-Román to serve as support to the International Community. We do not pursue commercial or political interests. If a product or service is mentioned is because we believe it is in your own benefit. In some cases, per our request, official information was received from the Mexican Government. Contributions include those coming from non-profit private organizations and individuals volunteering to the usefulness of the objective of each article. In others, information was acquired by navigating in the Internet, by personal interviews or other channels. In each case, credit is given to information sources. While this information is for public use, it would be appreciated that when you reproduce or share its contents, that you include the name of its author and a link to Security Corner. All suggestions are welcome. If we made a mistake, we’ll be happy to correct it. English is not my native language. Readers have been extremely useful in the past: Welcome to edit articles. THIS IS TRULY A JOINT COLLABORATIVE EFFORT. Thanks to your input, messages we are be able to determine what topics interest our audience the most. Mr. González-Román is a retired FSN employee from the Embassy of the United States of America, where he worked per prior consent by Mexican Congress as evidenced in Federal Official Diary no. 16, dated September 23, 1981. Please become familiar with his Biography.

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