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Author: Subject: Car Signals in Baja.... and other mysteries.
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wow.gif posted on 3-7-2018 at 05:24 PM
Car Signals in Baja.... and other mysteries.


Mysteries of the Universe! I remain totally confounded about the practice of using left turn signal to indicate...'go ahead, pass me',,,, just as easily as it can mean...' wait, don't pass,,, I'm about to turn Left'' :wow::?:

How does one distinguish the difference between these two, totally opposite indications!? Where did this rather insane seeming custom come from? How many folks has it killed!!!??? <;~O

.....it sure doesn't seem anyone quite knows..........this is the ONLY article I found that even seems to address the question a bit!......
“Cliff-Notes” On Mexican Turn Signals
By John Ward

For those of you new to Mexico and for those who have been here for a while and need a refresher course, here is a little help in understanding one aspect of Mexican driving customs and practices.

Most importantly, it is wise not to expect anyone to follow the indications of their indicators. If they do, see it as a bonus, but probably a coincidence. In other words, if you are at a red light and the on-coming car facing you has his left turn signal on, as if to turn in front of you, it is very possible that he will turn left, but equally possible that he is unaware of his signal, so when the light turns green, expect the driver to go straight, turn right, turn left across you or start reversing down the street he just came up.

Right turn signals are generally easy to deal with. If a turn signal ahead of you indicates a right turn, it is entirely possible that the vehicle ahead of you could turn right. Remember, that possibility quotient is equal to the possibility that he might continue driving straight, stop dead in the road, or go into reverse to pick up a family member who has fallen out of the truck and is running alongside trying to catch up.

You might think “a turn signal that has been on for a while suggests the driver turned it on and forgot it was on.” This is a legitimate assumption. In fact in many vehicles on the Mexican highways, the turn signal reset does not work and that right turn signal might be a vestige of a right turn the driver made the night before.

The left turn signal is the most complex signal to interpret. In most western countries it is used to indicate a desire to turn left. In Mexico it is a far more complex set of indications. If a vehicle traveling ahead of you turns on his left turn signal, it could actually be that he intends to turn left; however, the vehicle, on approaching the turn, might go to the right to turn left as it has been the custom in Mexico to go towards the right curb and wait for passing traffic on the left to ease up enough and then turn across the lanes to the left. For this reason I would caution you not to try to pass on the right when you see a left turn signal come on.
Another use of the turn signal in Mexico is a decent attempt by slower vehicles to let you pass. Sometimes you want to pass, but cannot see ahead of a taller vehicle. Often the driver ahead will see your intention and if they are able to see ahead that there is no on-coming traffic, they will turn on their left turn signal to invite you to pass. At this point you have to wonder several things: Is he inviting me to pass? Is he about to turn left? Is he about to pass someone in front of him? Is he using his flashers and the right light is out and he is about to stop? Is he about to slam it into reverse and back up the highway? Is his automatic turn signal reset broken? Is he just a fan of blinking lights? (The latter possibility is a real one as Mexicans love color, noise and lights.)

On occasion the left turn signal is to warn you not to pass. The vehicle ahead sees something he assumes you do not, so he puts on his left signal so that you will not pass, thinking he is about to pass someone or turn left. Whether he is indicating “pass” or “don’t pass” is graciously gifted to you to interpret.

Now you know exactly how to interpret Mexican Turn Signal usage, so don’t drive. Sell you car and take the bus.

[Edited on 3-8-2018 by micah202]

[Edited on 3-8-2018 by micah202]
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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 06:28 PM
Another possibilty...


Alcohol may be involved. That is what I suspect was going on Monday night between Guerrero Negro and Vizcaino!

I was driving after dark (yeah..I know) and I overtook a group of three vehicles, apparently traveling together. There was a pickup with a load in back, followed by two sedans.

Their speed was fluctuating between 35, and 45 miles an hour on that straight road, and it appeared that they were all swerving to miss potholes. They were all over the road!

Almost in unison, they turned on their left turn signals like that would make me feel like passing them. I held back aways, which encouraged the pickup behind me to pass all four of us!

The pothole dance continued even after we got to the stretch of brand new pavement. The pavement was so new that there were no side stripes or centerline painted yet.

Eventualy a stretch of road was wide enough, and with shoulders,to start getting around them.

Three vehicles, all with their left turn sgnals on! What would you do?

Edit; They did not leave their signal on all the time, the pickup in the lead would randomly turn his left signal on , then off, copied by the sedans.


[Edited on 3-8-2018 by AKgringo]




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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 06:41 PM


If you are ready to pass and the guy with the signal has a road to turn into just ahead by all means consider that an indication he wants you to pass. :?:



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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 06:48 PM


I always think of the movie "Duel" when a trucker waves you or signals you to pass:o
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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 07:33 PM


you know they would not use it if they were turning left:light:



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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 08:30 PM


In my limited experience, turn signals are not used for turns - ever.
However, they are used to signal that you can pass.
The emergency flasher is used frequently - rarely for emergencies.




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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 09:29 PM


If its a big rig and the signal light is on the left mirror on a straight away, other truck drivers use the flashing light or a solid light as a reference point to aim at for safe head on approaches :o



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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 09:14 AM


Awright already,,, seems there's no sense to be made,, bit people DO use left to indicate a left turn sometimes,,,, almost got caught out by that,, missed that there was a road left,,, but no braking was involved,,,when I was about to pass,,,,luckily the same ahead looked before she leaped into her turn, I was already beside her! <;~o
I guess that's the key difference, if they are actually going to turn left, they'll look before they go,, all drivers know the hazards of negligence.

EMERG FLASHERS....One thing that seems universal, and actually makes sense,, sometimes you don't see the cause, but I've seen a number of times where a slow vehicle uses them, but otherwise, a few times flashers are used to warn of cows or other temporary hazards,,, so not always obvious, but universal warning to take care,,, think I'll just leave mine ON next time! <;~)
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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 09:27 AM


You are right Harald. The emergency flashers are used a lot by drivers simply because they are in a hurry. They feel somehow empowered by using the blinking flashers to cross the intersection against a red light.


Quote: Originally posted by 4x4abc  
In my limited experience, turn signals are not used for turns - ever.
However, they are used to signal that you can pass.
The emergency flasher is used frequently - rarely for emergencies.




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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 10:03 AM


When the final section of the Transpeninsular Highway first opened (December 1, 1973), it was so narrow (still is, mostly), it was believed to help oncoming motorists if you activated the left turn signal so you could get an accurate fix on their position on the narrow road to avoid hitting them.

The narrow road took some getting used to.

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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 10:09 AM


Hence the reason we decided on buying two houses rather than the chance of playing Russian roulette with a very large motorhome.


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
When the final section of the Transpeninsular Highway first opened (December 1, 1973), it was so narrow (still is, mostly), it was believed to help oncoming motorists if you activated the left turn signal so you could get an accurate fix on their position on the narrow road to avoid hitting them.

The narrow road took some getting used to.




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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 10:26 AM


I had a driver turn on his left turn signal and move over the center line by about a foot or two. That's a pretty strong hint.

I now do that unless there is oncoming traffic, which should keep others from passing me.




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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 10:33 AM
Left GO or NO ?


Some years back now, an aged neighbor of mine in Percebu (who was ALWAYS driving at breakneck speed whenever I ran across him) came up behind a Mexican heading north above San Felipe. When the Mexican vehicle put on its Left-Turn signal, he passed.

Well, almost. The vehicle was turning left onto one of the dirt tracks and they collided. Fortunately, though damage was, injuries were not major.

He then added to his error by (ignoring the written advice seen everywhere) and explained truthfully to the arriving authorities what had occurred.

Having always been leery of buying into that "signal to pass" business unless it was abundantly clear that was the intent (as in a location like the drive across Laguna Salada), I found that even that could be a mistake.

Admittedly only once, I began to pass a Semi-Truck once after seeing the signal only to find an oncoming car. Looking up towards the truck driver as I braked and fell back, he was laughing heartily.

You look for fun where you can find it on those long boring drives, I guess.

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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 11:18 AM


The abundance of frontage roads that parallel the highway is a huge driving problem too. Turns from either direction off the highway is a crap shoot when coming out from behind a doble trailer:o Once saw a car get T-boned this way by a truck full of Goats, never knew they could fly:biggrin:



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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 12:17 PM


Quote: Originally posted by BajaBill74  
I had a driver turn on his left turn signal and move over the center line by about a foot or two. That's a pretty strong hint.

I now do that unless there is oncoming traffic, which should keep others from passing me.


That's the way to do it. Slow down and drive in the middle of the road and turn signal on.




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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 12:49 PM


You can tell that this is just a fairy tale because of the part where the local cars have functional turn signals.
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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 01:42 PM


Here in Alta California, a blinking turn signal on a car that is not turning, simply means it is a senior citizen driving.



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[*] posted on 3-8-2018 at 02:26 PM


... and the next mystery to ponder will be the use of emergency vehicle lights on police cars in La Paz :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

A. Responding to a call?
B. Pull to the right immediately?
C. Routine patrol?
D. New round of "Let's Make A Deal"




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[*] posted on 3-9-2018 at 01:21 PM


I use the left turn signal to let others know it IS safe to pass. This is telling them that I acknowledge they are they, will back off the gas if needed and will stay as far right as I can.

When I see the left signal come on I usually just jump out and start to pass as that's how I was told the signal is used. It's worked 100% for me so far. I guess after reading this I will look twice before jumping out.
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[*] posted on 3-9-2018 at 01:28 PM


Quote: Originally posted by y2kbaja  

When I see the left signal come on I usually just jump out and start to pass as that's how I was told the signal is used. It's worked 100% for me so far.


I never blindly trust the signal,...
I always verify it is safe to pass with with my own eyes, before I pass.

I often see others blindly trust the signal, and have several times seen them react wildly when their trust was mistaken

I never use turn signal to indicate to followers it is safe to pass -- I prefer followers not pass me when they are blind to oncoming traffic, I prefer passers only pass me when they themselves can see the way

[Edited on 3-9-2018 by mtgoat666]




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