Funeral Procession Protocols Can Be Confusing: Do You Know the Rules?

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Funeral processions come with many rules and restrictions.

For those who are not familiar with the process, they can seem puzzling and complicated. Whether you are driving in a funeral procession or you encounter one, it’s often difficult to know the right thing to do. Is passing permitted? Should you stop at red lights or proceed?

Read on for some important fundamentals of funeral procession etiquette.

If You Encounter a Funeral Procession

Although motor vehicle laws regarding funeral processions vary by state, exhibiting good manners is always the smart choice. If you come upon a hearse leading a funeral procession while you are on the road, be considerate and polite. Here are five key things to keep in mind:

  • Yield the right of way. Just as you would defer to an emergency vehicle, you should do the same for a funeral procession. Even if your light turns green and the procession is still in the intersection, you must wait until it has passed before proceeding.
  • Be respectful. Never honk your horn, yell, rev your engine, or show any other signs of aggression toward the processional.
  • Pull over and allow the procession to go by. If you’re on a secondary road and it is safe to do so, consider moving to the shoulder and letting the procession pass. This isn’t required by law, but it is the courteous thing to do.
  • Never cut in or tag along. The processional is a poignant ceremonial event for those who have lost a loved one. It is extremely rude to interrupt or join a funeral procession for which you are not a participant.
  • Watch for the last vehicle in the procession. This car will be marked with two funeral flags and will have its flashing hazard lights on to indicate to other drivers where the procession ends.

If You are Driving In a Funeral Procession

When the funeral service is over, the officiant, the casket, and the family members leave first. The casket is placed in the hearse, which then leads the procession. Immediate family members follow the hearse and remaining mourners then follow the family. Here are five important rules to follow if you are a participant:

  • Turn on your headlights. This lets other drivers know that you are part of the procession. Most funeral homes will also provide a magnetic sign or flag for your vehicle.
  • Funeral processions have the right of way. In most states, the lead vehicle of a funeral procession must observe all traffic lights and signs. Once it legally passes through an intersection, the rest of the funeral procession can follow without stopping. If you are in a processional, don’t stop for traffic lights or stop signs unless an emergency vehicle is crossing.
  • Keep your place in line. Remain as close to the car in front of you as is safely possible. This will prevent other vehicles on the road from interrupting the procession.
  • Drive slowly. Most funeral processions go below the posted speed limit and no more than 55 mph on the highway.
  • Be respectful. Do not blast the radio, use your cell phone, or honk the horn while you’re participating in this solemn event.

Whether you’re in a funeral procession or you encounter one while driving, common courtesy should always prevail. Sometimes they can be very long but keep in mind that a loved one has passed away. Be patient and refer back to these rules of proper funeral procession etiquette.

Accompanying the departed to their final resting place is a wonderful act of love and deserves the utmost respect. If you have questions about funeral processions or require assistance planning a service, please reach out to our caring professionals.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. With two convenient locations serving North and West Philadelphia, it is always our pleasure to be of service. Please visit our website for more information.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Young Children at Funerals: Seven Important Considerations and Helpful Tips

It can be challenging to decide whether or not your child should attend a funeral or memorial service. We tend to want to protect our youngsters from the sadder events of life, such as having to ...

The Advantages of Pre-Paying a Funeral: How Much Do you Know?

If you have decided to preplan your funeral, you’ve made a great decision. Having a specific, written funeral plan in place will prevent the family members who survive you from having to guess wh...

What Legacy Do You Want to Leave Behind? Here are Four Key Things to Consider

“Carve your name on hearts not tombstones.” They say legacies are etched into the minds of others and the stories they share after we have passed away. And of course, we all want to do wonderful ...

Making the Move to a Senior Living Community: Seven Critical Benefits You Need to Know

Are you considering living in a retirement community but aren’t sure if it’s the right move for you? You are in luck because there is likely a senior living option out there that will suit your n...

Upcoming Webinar: Supporting Civilians & Veterans with Trauma and PTSD

We hope you will join us May 19th at 4pm for this virtual event! We have invited Leslie Holley, MA, LCPC, NCC, and certified counselor with Healing Circle, to lead us in an online presentation. ...

Honor Your Departed Veteran on Memorial Day with these Touching Tributes

Most people associate Memorial Day with the unofficial start of summer. The holiday is often celebrated with barbeques, shopping, or trips to the beach over the long weekend. Being with loved ones...

How Much Do You Know About the Common Types of Funeral Services?

Planning a funeral is a critically important act of love. If you are unfamiliar with the various types of funeral services that exist, or if you have never planned one, you may be unsure about the...

When it Comes to Facing Mortality, It's Best to Accept

Our views of mortality, our end-of-life preferences, and the way we grieve when we lose a loved one are deeply influenced by our beliefs and experiences. Although loss and death affects everyone,...

Seven Imaginative Ideas for Your Loved One’s Celebration of Life

Are you considering hosting a celebration of life for a departed loved one? Unlike a funeral or memorial service, these events focus on joyful remembrance rather than grief. You can hold a celebr...

How to Choose Photos that Celebrate Your Loved One’s Life

When a loved one passes away, surviving friends and family members are left with precious memories. Photographs and other mementos take on special significance. Whether you are writing an obituar...