One in four New Mexico drivers have no insurance. The actual percentage varies from year to year although it typically is around 25% which usually puts us at number one (worst) or two in the nation. New Mexico is also a state that issues drivers licenses to non-US citizens who do not have residence status. Why is this important to you? If you're driving in New Mexico and get involved in an accident there's a fair chance the other driver will run or if they remain, may not speak English. Be alert and start immediately collecting details; pay special attention to the driver and car. Use your phone camera to capture details from all angles if your able. This includes encounters with Albuquerque police (APD). Our city has its fair share of crooked cops, for example within the past year, one was speeding through town (while off duty) with his lights flashing but no siren, ran a red light and collided with a car killing the passenger. Another cop rear-ended a car on the interstate and gave the driver a fake accident report number and quickly left the scene. All accidents should be regarded as "problematic" thus putting you on notice you need to quickly gather facts. Observe, observe, observe!!!
Other traffic related facts: no red light cameras in the city; very little traffic law enforcement; right or left turns from the far lane without warning. Red light cameras or speed enforcement vans present in Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Las Cruces.
All around the ABQ city is traffic issues that can be frustrating. I took old Hwy 66 and for 5 miles, it took 20+ minutes to go that distance. Every aspect of the city is the same, and be prepared for delays. I stayed up furthest north and traffic was not as bad, but still backlogged
Around the bus stops and all along the old Hwy 66 now called Central Ave, there are people that are wandering daily and hanging around the streets. They do not work, and have their belongings on their backs. They do not seem to harass people, but do look like they have the potential to pan handle and hit you up for a buck. NO police around for help
Just and FYI if you are in the Southern part of New Mexico by Alamogordo on 70 or leaving Las Cruces up to Albuquerque on 25 be aware of the border patrol stops along the way.
I am a citizen however my boyfriend is a residence. Since we were only traveling in the State of New Mexico we had no idea this might be an issue. He had his drivers license but no green card or passport with him. This caused about a 45 minute delay in the hot afternoon on a Sunday. He was able to call his work and give them his number and everything worked out okay. But this was a scarey experience to go through.
Next time we travel in New Mexico we will be prepared.
Drunk driving is a huge problem in New Mexico. New laws have been passed that make the fines and legal ramifications of driving while itoxicated much more severe.
For a first time offense, your car car be taken and sold. To maintain a driver's license, you will need to install an interlock ignition (not cheap) - this device is a breathalizer that must be used before the car will start. If you don't 'pass' the testing in the car, it won't start up. Jail time and fines can add significantly to your problems if you are caught.
There are so many options to choose from instead of taking this risk .... bus, taxi, or a designated driver.So, take care of yourself, and others - don't drink and drive!
Addendum Dec, 2005: DRUNK BUSTERS!!! The New Mexico State Police now have a drunk driving hotline for other drivers to let the police know of a potential problem. The number is 877-DWI-HALT (877-394-4258). I for one hope this helps keep dangerous drivers off the road before they kill an innocent.
Here in Albuquerque, during special events, parking is a real pain. Unless someone is coming in early to work or volunteer, it is always better to use transit to get in here :) This means looking for park and ride oportunities or carpooling.
For Balloon Fiesta, there are park and ride set-ups at most of the local malls. You can pay at the mall for the ride and your entry fee .... it come out to about the same as your entry and parking fees, and it's much more convenient ... especially if you can't find a spot, park illegally and get towed .... to free your vehicle from the towing yard - expect to pay over $100!
Just remeber to park in a legal location, or plan on picking up your car far, far, away :)
If you choose to wander off the beaten track and onto the dirt roads ...... be cautious! Have an idea of where you are, and where you are going as most of these back roads have no signs and directions are provided by odometer usage and landmarks ...... like, "The 1st right after the old washing machine by the side of the road".
Washboard roads are hard on your suspension, but easy to drive. Less kept roads have hidden boulders that can hand up the vehicle's frame and bring you back to reality as you try to figure out how to get unstuck without cell phone service. Sandy roads are deeper than they appear initially - As this local discovered himself. I think these guys were probably out and about to procure plants for their lanscaping business :)
The re-building of the Big I. This is the interchange of I-40 and I-25, two major interstates. The re-building will clog up the freeway for the next two years. Get a good Albuquerque map and figure out alternatives.
They back roads can be rough, bumpy and rippling. Most are on the US territory, and wilderness areas; and most for hiking/biking. Either way, be prepared, and get ready for a bump or two
Sometimes you run into really bad drivers out there, but I guess that's true of any place. Just becareful on the roads. Hate to see people get hurt.