Contrary to popular belief, driving through many parts of Mexico is not especially dangerous for foreign travelers.
Some areas of high drug trafficking are risky. The cartels like large American pickup trucks to build “technicals” and those vehicles are at risk of being car jacked. Most experts will advise that you should not drive late at night through rural areas. Besides these concerns, the average tourist should be able to drive most places in Mexico safely.
But not always…
The link below provides information about a new way that the cartels (in conjunction with the police) are targeting foreign vehicles for theft or bribery attempts.
Cartel assaults increase on foreign plated vehicles on Nuevo Laredo-Monterrey highway
Take note that these robbers are operating during the day time. Vehicles are being targeted by spotters (hawks) who are observing police inspection roadblocks. Also note that there is a second blocking vehicle further down the road if the victim is able to avoid the first batch of robbers.
Even if you don’t drive in Mexico, it’s useful to take note of these tactics. We are already seeing areas of the USA with “no-go” zones. There have been several “autonomous zones” declared by occupying citizens. I think in the future, both will increase. I also believe they will use tactics like these to “tax” people driving through the areas they control.