Nearly everyone understands that when you see a line of vehicles traveling closely together–led by a police escort, all with their lights on–that you’re seeing a funeral procession heading towards burial services. However, did you know that there is definitely a protocol to being in the funeral procession, as well as specific ways that you can show your respect to the deceased? At Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery, we get a lot of questions about this topic and hope we can offer some guidance.
There are a few general rules that everyone who is involved in a funeral procession should follow, such as always keep your headlights on for the entire drive to the cemetery. Here are a few other tips:
- Stay close to the vehicle in front of you, so other drivers will understand that you’re all together and it’s inappropriate to cut in.
- Be prepared to take your time. Funeral processions normally go between 30-40 miles per hour on main roads and less than 60 mph on the highway. This is to ensure that the formation remains tight and keeps the participants safe from harm.
- You have the right of way when you’re on the way to burial services, so don’t be concerned if you’re going through red lights on the way there. Other motorists must yield.
- If you are the last vehicle in the funeral procession, the funeral home will often provide you with flags for your vehicle to signify that you are at the end of the procession. Cemetery attendants will collect the flags upon your arrival at the burial services site.
Arriving at the Cemetery
Once you’ve arrived for the burial services, it’s important to stay respectful for the deceased. This can be especially difficult if you have small children, but encourage them to speak in low voices and to conduct themselves with as much dignity as possible. Be sure to leave spaces nearest the grave site for close family. It is not unusual for distant family and friends to be standing during the short burial services.
When you keep these tips in mind, you’re offering the highest level of respect to the family of the deceased. If you have questions about where you should park the day of a funeral, always ask our considerate staff and they can help you park appropriately to be a part of the procession.