Can You Pass a Funeral Procession? Important Protocols Everyone Should Know

By: VGFS
Friday, February 11, 2022

There is nothing in the Maryland Driver's Handbook that addresses what to do when encountering a funeral procession.

It’s not surprising that many motorists are unsure of the rules of the road for this situation. Seeing a funeral procession (also called a cortege) may not be an everyday occurrence but special laws apply to ensure the safety of the procession participants and other drivers.

Here are seven important facts about funeral procession privileges to keep in mind:

1.     Yield the right of way. Funeral processions have the right-of-way over all vehicles with the exception of emergency vehicles, so you should always defer to them. The procession can proceed through a red signal if the first vehicle in the procession entered the intersection while the signal was green.

2.     Do not pass. Drivers traveling in the same direction as a funeral procession should never pass or attempt to pass unless the highway has two or more lanes going in that direction. When on a multi-lane highway, do not pass a funeral procession from the right side unless it is traveling in the far left-hand lane.

3.     Watch for the last vehicle in the procession. This car is typically denoted with two or more funeral flags and flashing hazard lights. Once it passes by, the normal flow of traffic may resume.

4.     Never cut into a funeral procession. The laws vary from state to state but many times, tickets can be issued to drivers who enter or interfere with a procession.

5.     It’s best to pull to the side of the road, if possible. You may need to find a safe place to do so; do not stop in the middle of a busy thoroughfare. Take cues from what drivers in front of you are doing.

6.     There are rules of etiquette for pedestrians, too. If you are walking and encounter a funeral procession, stop while it passes. If you are wearing a hat, remove it to signify your respect for the departed.

7.     Be courteous at all times. Never yell, honk your horn, rev your engine, or display any other type of impolite behavior at a funeral procession.

To resolve any confusion about funeral processions, simply use good manners. When you see a line of cars outfitted with funeral flags or following a hearse, let them pass. It’s the safest option and the polite way to show your respect for a grieving family.

The funeral procession is a time-honored tradition that brings great comfort to those saying their final goodbyes. If you have questions about funeral processions or need to make funeral arrangements, please reach out to our caring professionals anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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