Funeral Procession Etiquette

By: Anderson Funeral Home
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Funeral Procession Etiquette

Funeral processions may be confusing. Whether you are in the procession or you happen upon one, it is difficult to know who should do what. Do you stop for lights, or allow non-funeral attendees to pass? What are the rules? Let’s take a look at the fundamentals of funeral procession etiquette.

If You Come Upon a Funeral Procession

  • If you are driving and you encounter a funeral procession, there are basic etiquette guidelines to follow. They include:
  • Yield to funeral processions.
  • If you are traveling in the same or opposite direction on a two way road, it is customary to pull over and wait until the procession has passed. This is not the law, but it is considered courteous. You can resume normal traffic once the procession has passed.
  • The last car in the procession will have a flag.
  • If you’re on a multi-lane highway, you can pass a funeral procession slowly on the right when it’s safe. Don’t cut off or join a procession.
  • Don’t honk at a funeral procession.

If You are In a Funeral Procession

If you are in a funeral procession the rules are a little easier to understand. However, the etiquette rules change depending on who you are and where you are in the procession.

When the funeral is over, the officiant, the casket and the family leave first. The casket will be placed in the hearse which will then lead the procession. Family members follow the hearse, and the remaining mourners follow the family.

  • A police escort is often necessary for processions in urban or populated areas. Turn your headlights on to signal that you are part of the procession.
  • Funeral processions have right of way. Other cars should yield to you. Don’t stop at traffic lights or stop signs unless there is an emergency.
  • Keep your place in line. Funeral processions move slowly, so patience is required.
  • The funeral officiant will often give directions to the mourners. However, when in doubt about etiquette, look to the officiant or the funeral director for cues.
  • Throughout the procession it’s important to maintain an attitude of reverence and quiet respect. Don’t blast the radio while you’re participating. Don’t honk horns or rev the engine.

Funeral processions are confusing for many. Whether you are participating in one or you have encountered one, the basic rule of thumb is respect. Sometimes they can be quite long, but keep in mind that a loved one has passed away – be patient, kind, and use proper funeral procession etiquette.

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