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What Is Proper Funeral Procession Etiquette?

Updated April 17, 2017

Etiquette requires that drivers pull over when encountering a funeral procession. However, if traffic is abnormally heavy or if you're driving during rush hour, pulling over to the side isn't always easy or possible. Also, it's important to know the do's and don't's of driving in a funeral procession. Traditionally, funeral processions are allowed to pass as a way of showing respect for the dead person and his family.

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You'll know ahead of time that you'll be driving in a funeral procession. Your car should be clean, both inside and out. Remember, the funeral procession is about paying respect to the deceased and laying them to rest. You'll also want to ensure that your car will run well -- you don't want to blow a tire or stall when you're depended on to be a part of the car procession.


When driving in a funeral procession, your headlights should be turned on, even if the procession is during the day. This is a signal to drivers on the road and police officers that you're part of a funeral procession. If you see a funeral procession, you'll know when it's finished because the following cars won't have their headlights on.


Everyone who will be driving in the funeral procession will gather in a car park before driving to the cemetery. You'll have to make your way into the line of cars -- do so carefully because a lot of cars will be attempting the same move. According to ArkansasOnline.com, most funeral processions are about 20 cars long. Family members and close friends will drive directly behind the hearse. Other drivers will recognise a funeral procession by the leading hearse. Sometimes a police car with flashing lights will drive in front of the hearse. If the procession is extremely long, you can let the family -- the first few cars -- and the next couple of cars pass before getting back on the road.


While driving in the funeral procession, keep up with the person in front of you without following too closely. You'll most likely drive at 45 or 50mph, even if the speed limit is faster. Everyone in the procession should travel at the same speed. If you see a funeral procession on the road, pull over to the side of the road without putting other drivers in jeopardy. Funeral processions often go through red lights and stop signs, so pay attention to the road even if you're following close to a procession.

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About the Author

Lindsay Pietroluongo

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.

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