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Funeral Procession Etiquette

March 25, 2011

There was once a time when the only vehicles using their headlights during the day (excluding bad weather) were part of a funeral procession, but with the majority of vehicles now having automatic daytime running lights it can sometimes be a challenge for motorists to recognize them, but it really isn’t that challenging if you are paying attention.

Many people seemed to have forgotten what is socially acceptable etiquette when it comes to funeral processions on the road. This is not only frustrating for the other motorists trying to do the right thing, but it is an extremely inappropriate, disrespectful and rude towards the family and friends who are trying to get their loved ones to their final resting places.

It is customary to pull over and stop until the procession has passed by, and when on a four lane (or more) highway you should at least pull as far to the right as you can and it is preferable to slow down, as long as it isn’t dangerous. If you are traveling the opposite direction of the procession, pull over and wait for the procession to pass and then continue on your way. If you are traveling the same direction pull over, whether you are in front of the procession or not, and wait for them to pass you. You may then continue on your way but follow at a respectful distance and DO NOT pass the procession, DO NOT honk at the procession and DO NOT join the procession.

Unless ABSOLUTELY necessary, avoid switching lanes into a funeral procession. Drivers may be from out of town and need to follow the cars in front of them to avoid getting lost, that is one thing, but just breaking a procession because you left the house late is rude and very distasteful. And please remember, funeral processions may run a stop sign or red light to keep up with the front of the line (which is legal) so DON’T honk or try to break up a procession when they run a light. Show some respect and sit and wait patiently.

The other day, I came upon a funeral procession and I was absolutely appalled at some of the motorists behavior. I was angry for a family that I didn’t know because of the lack of respect and common courtesy that was being shown for the loss of a life. But in turn I was also very proud of the majority of them. Men pulling over to the side of the road and taking off their hats, and women doing the same. Bravo to those of you who use proper funeral procession etiquette.

For the ones who act like they are better then everyone else and have no compassion, it may seem like an inconvenience to you but for the family, they are dealing with a real loss and are going through a life changing event. Take the time to show respect when you see a funeral procession. You can make a hard day easier for those involved, including those not in the procession.

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