Driving in Funeral Processions and What to Do When You Encounter One

Driving in Funeral Processions and What to Do When You Encounter One

When you arrive at the funeral home or church for the funeral service, you may see funeral attendants  waiting to direct you to park your vehicle.  If not proceed to the designated parking area.  If you intend to follow the hearse to the cemetery or crematorium.  Park in a position that allows for ease of exit.

When the funeral service is over, at the church or other venue the pallbearers will transport the casket outside and place it in the hearse.

In many instances, there will be time restraints on arrival at the cemetery of crematorium.  Consequently, you will need to be prepared to leave in procession or if you prefer the correct word is “cortege”  quite soon after the service.   The funeral conductor will announce when the hearse will be leaving.  At that point move to your vehicles and line up behind the hearse.  The immediate family should be in the first vehicle behind the hearse.


Top  Things to Know About Driving in a Funeral Procession

  • Leave a space for the immediate family to be the first vehicle behind the hearse.
  • You will be driving very slowly – usually 20 Km under the designated speed limit.  This will also include highways.
  • Drive with your head lights ON.  (This signifies to other motorists that you are part of the funeral cortege.
  • You will need to stay close to the car in front of you in the procession (cortege) – do not allow room for a vehicle not in the procession to cut in.
  • Stay in line and with the procession at all times. You will normally, but not always, be driving the left lane.
  • Do not leave your place in the procession (cortege) line unless there is an emergency.
  • Even though the occasion is a funeral all vehicles including the hearse must comply with all road rules.  If a traffic light changes to red you must stop.  The cortege will be traveling under the speed limit and you will have the opportunity to catch up.
  • Once you arrive at the cemetery, or crematorium proceed to the car park and then make your way to the graveside or crematorium chapel.
  • Once again be very aware of time.  In most instances the committal service will not be held up for late comers.  And some crematoriums charge a fee if the service proceeds past a defined time limit


What To Do When You Encounter a Funeral Procession

Just remember that funeral most people who are driving in a funeral procession are concentrating on following the vehicle in front of them so that they don’t get lost.  Therefore, be aware that they may not see you. Here are some additional Do’s and Don’ts on how to handle a funeral procession that passes through an area where you are driving:

  • Do be respectful.
  • Do yield – once the hearse has entered traffic, such as going through an intersection – the entire procession will follow without interruption.
  • Do look for the vehicles in the procession that have their lights on and please respect them
  • Don’t cut into or cut off a procession.
  • Don’t blow your horn at a car in a funeral procession.
  • Don’t pass a funeral procession on the left side on a highway, unless the procession is in the far right lane.

Please be respectful even if you are in a hurry.  There will be a time in the future when you will be involved in a situation like this.  Stop and think how you would feel.