Funerals are solemn occasions, especially if you are saying goodbye to someone who was close to you. Most funerals begin at a church or synagogue, but the burial takes place at a cemetery that often is miles away. Each state has laws that govern the procession of cars that assist motorists at a very difficult time. For instance, the laws of Nevada only let the vehicle escorting the procession to go through a red light while there are five states that allow the entire group to pass through an intersection when the traffic signal is red.
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State laws vary as to the ways that automobiles in a funeral procession may be identified. Most states require that cars in a funeral procession have their headlights on throughout the trip, but many of them also require that each car have a flag or its signal flashers on. In Florida, the lead vehicle, if it's not a law enforcement officer, must have a flashing amber light.
Generally, all states call for funeral processions to have the right-of-way, except for emergency vehicles or as directed by a law enforcement officer. That presumes that both the cars in the funeral procession as well as the lead car have complied with the laws governing identification.
Passing a Funeral Procession
In many states, the laws allow a lead car to exceed the speed limit by up to fifteen miles per hour to pass a funeral procession to direct the procession at the next intersection. However, if you are behind a funeral procession and you wish to pass, you are precluded from doing so in most states unless you are driving an emergency vehicle or are directed to do so by a police officer.
Other State Laws
In Wisconsin, military convoys receive the same treatment as funeral processions; and in Massachusetts, the laws governing funeral processions do not include those with ten cars or less and are simply called "pleasure vehicles." Finally, in New Jersey, the law states that if a funeral procession takes longer than five minutes to clear an intersection, it must be stopped for at least five minutes to allow waiting traffic to pass. Also in New Jersey, U. S. Mail trucks and physicians' vehicles have the right-of-way through a funeral procession.
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