Espanola, New Mexico Speed Traps
1-25 south of their city near the city limit. They work it hard especially during spring break weekends as many tourists are forced to travel in and out of their city in route to northern New Mexico ski towns.
The speed limit drops very briefly from 60 mph to 50 mph at Alcalde, with no change in actual road conditions, etc. State police like to lurk in this area because drivers making the long straight drive on State Road 68 easily miss the little 50mph signs in this essentially invisible “place.”
Leave Los Alamos heading east on highway 502 between the hours of 3pm and 5pm highway patrol and state police all over this 10 mile stretch.
Opposite during morning morning hours westbound 502 towards Los Alamos 6am thru 9am they hide everywhere for 10 miles.
It’s a safety corridor so fines are doubled!
When driving on NM 30 Northeast between NM 502 and U.S. Hwy. 285/84 there is a stoplight at the gas station about 5 miles from Espanola. The speed limit at that point changes from 55 to 45, then quickly to 40. It’s easy to get caught unaware since the country, to that point, is wide open and you are easily distracted by the beautiful Black Mesa. A ticket is costly, usually over $100. But, as the officer will enthusiastically tell you, the fine benefits the Santa Clara Pueblo (reservation) and no points will be assessed if you pay on time.
One of the most notorious speed trap zones in the state. I have personally seen on several occasions, Espanola’s finest tailgate motorists as they hit the area where the speed limit changes from 45 to 35, or 35 to 25. So the motorist can slow down and possibly be hit by the officer, or keep on going 35-37 and end up getting a ticket in the 25 zone. For this reason, I make it a point to avoid Espanola whenever possible in my road trips to Northern New Mexico. Generally run more on the weekends than on the weekdays. As I recall, as least one of the sign lowering the speed limit is really amusingly enormous, at least twice the size of your average sign. In general, I assume the cops in rural areas are more bored than the ones in the bigger cities, and look very carefully for those speed changes and try to drive right on the speed limit whenever possible. I have managed to never get a ticket (or pulled over) in these small town speed traps despite my many road trips. It’s too bad Espanola’s finest have to be so over the top: they are ruining Espanola’s claim to fame: as the "low rider capital of the world". Apparently people as far away as Japan have had their cars modified by shops in Espanola. I hit a low-rider traffic jam one time I was there, which was quite a site to see.