A Guide to Funeral Processions

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Thursday, July 27, 2023

If there is a church service or burial ceremony as part of your loved one’s funeral service, having a funeral procession is traditional. The funeral procession symbolizes the final journey for the departed and helps in providing closure to the grieving. It also keeps the mourners together, so people don’t get lost on the way. If you are a part of the procession, it is important to know what is expected of you. If you are sharing the road with one, or as a pedestrian, it is good to know how to show respect to the mourners.

When Driving In the Procession

When participating in a funeral procession, there are certain practices you should follow as a driver. After the casket is brought to the hearse, those going to the burial will get into their cars and line up. Your hazard lights should be on. Your funeral home may provide a sticker or sign for the car. This signage helps you contest a ticket in the event that you have to go through a red light. 
During the procession, you should generally drive below the speed limit; and fairly close to the car in front of you, but still a safe distance away. The slow speed serves two purposes. The first is to emulate the slow, somber, march of a funeral procession. The second is to prevent other drivers from separating from the group. By driving close to the next car, you prevent people from cutting you off and separating the group.
Funeral processions have the right of way in New York, except for emergency vehicles. You must still yield to ambulances, firetrucks, and police vehicles. If the hearse stops at a red light, the procession will halt. If the light changes, cars are permitted to continue and stay with the group; if it is safe to do so. 

Other Drivers On the Road

Just as you would yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, you should try to do the same for a procession. Moving to a different lane if possible is one of the easiest ways to respectfully let the group pass. While pulling over and waiting for the procession to pass is a great sign of respect, you should only do this if it is safe to do so. If you are driving on an intersecting street to the procession, let them pass before you enter the intersection. Do not cut through or into a procession. 

Guidance for Pedestrians

For pedestrians, this section is less about the rules of the road and more about respect and etiquette. It shows a lot of sympathy and respect for the family to stop walking, and bow your head as the procession passes. If you are wearing a non-religious hat or headpiece, it is respectful to take it off as they pass. If you are playing music out loud or using loud lawn equipment, turning it off until the group passes is greatly appreciated.

For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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