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Funeral Processions: What are the Guidelines?

Updated on October 4, 2013
Hearse for Transporting Remains
Hearse for Transporting Remains

Funeral processions have guidelines. In the South, funeral processions are given the greatest respect. People stop in respect and often pull off the road, if possible. Many years ago this was standard behavior everywhere.

Funeral processions begin with a funeral coach. Often they are carrying the family members that are mourning. How you treat these processions is an extension of how you treat others.

Unfortunately, many people no longer have an understanding of funeral processions and simply decide that this is not important. In our busy lives drivers often think that observing the simplest etiquette isn’t worth the time.

Consideration To Those in Mourning

These are some of the things to remember when participating in or observing a funeral procession"

  • Mourners in the funeral procession that live out of state may not know exactly where they are going. So, staying in the uninterrupted procession helps grieving friends and family get to the cemetery easily and safely.
  • Although states have different guideline and rules for funeral processions, the rules basically follow good manners.
  • After the hearst, cars in the processions will turn on their lights and most of the cars will be flagged unless it’s an unusually large procession (but all cars will have lights on high beams).
  • The last car may have two flags to signal that the procession is complete.
  • The procession of cars will go very slowly. Usually the car travels about 35 mph, but on a freeway the procession usually follows the lowest acceptable speed.
  • Cars following the lead car should proceed safely, but normally if going through an intersection the procession cars will pass through so no one is lost stopping at a traffic light
  • Funeral processions have the right of way at a red light. Other cars must wait for the procession to pass.
  • There is no reason to be rude to any car in a funeral procession.
  • Don't try to get ahead of the procession on either side of the road. Passing on the right side is usually against the law anyway. If you are in the left lane and trying to get to place to turn right make sure you can do so safely.

The Other Drivers

If you watch driving behavior, it will become apparent that drivers often think that a funeral procession is an inconvenience to them.

If a car has to cut into a procession due to an on-ramp, they should try to move into a different lane as soon as it is safe to do so.

If a driver approaches from a short ramp, let him cut in the procession and then he can move safely out of the process . Occasionally a driver may not realize he/she is in a funeral procession. Be aware of cars with lights. It is easy to not realize why we had our lights on. Just move out of the procession as soon as possible. Empathy and compassion appear to be on the short list when it comes to funeral processions.

Rules for Funeral Processions in Your Area of the Country

  • Find out what the rules are in your area about Funeral Processions
  • Yield to the right of way
  • Remember if the procession begins to cross an intersection, even if the light changes, they will continue through that intersection until everyone in the procession has cleared that intersection
  • Be respectful, think about the situation and decide if a minute or two is such a big deal

These are only guidelines and vary from place to place, but remember good manners and driving safely is always the way to go.

Funeral Procession Behavior

How do you approach a funeral processions?

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