Funeral Cortege hearses in a cortege

Driving in Funeral Processions: Guidelines for Respectful Encounters

As you arrive at the funeral home or church for a funeral service, you may notice funeral attendants awaiting to guide you in parking your vehicle. If no one directs you, please proceed to the designated parking area.

If you plan to follow the hearse to the cemetery or crematorium, park in a position that allows for easy departure.

Once the funeral service concludes at the church or another venue, the pallbearers will carefully carry the coffin or casket outside and place it in the hearse.

Please note that there will always be time constraints upon arrival at the cemetery or crematorium. Therefore, you should be prepared to join the procession, also known as the “cortege,” shortly after the service concludes. The funeral conductor will announce when the hearse will be departing. At that moment, kindly move towards your vehicles and get ready to line up behind the hearse. It is crucial not to linger around chatting, as the hearse will be departing very soon, and you may risk being left behind. The immediate family should be in the first vehicle behind the hearse.

Essential Information about Driving in a Funeral Procession:

  1. Give priority to the immediate family by leaving a space for their vehicle to be the first one behind the hearse.
  2. The procession will drive at a considerably slower pace, usually 20 km below the designated speed limit, including on highways.
  3. Keep your headlights on, set to the low beam, to indicate to other motorists that you are part of the funeral cortege.
  4. Maintain a close distance to the vehicle in front of you in the procession, ensuring no room for non-procession vehicles to cut in.
  5. Stay in line with the procession at all times, usually driving in the left lane, although exceptions may apply.
  6. Unless there is an emergency, avoid leaving your position in the procession line.
  7. Even though it is a funeral occasion, all vehicles, including the hearse, must comply with road rules. If a traffic light turns red, you must stop. The procession will be traveling below the speed limit, allowing you an opportunity to catch up.
  8. Upon arrival at the cemetery or crematorium, proceed to the car park before making your way to the graveside or crematorium chapel. Remember to turn off your headlights.
  9. Time is of great importance. In most cases, the committal service will not be delayed for latecomers. Additionally, certain crematoriums impose fees if the service exceeds a predefined time limit.

Etiquette for Encountering a Funeral Procession:

It is crucial to remember that individuals driving in a funeral procession, or “cortege,” are primarily focused on following the vehicle ahead to ensure they don’t lose their way. Consequently, be mindful that they may not notice you. Here are some additional do’s and don’ts when you encounter a funeral procession while driving:

Do’s:

  • Show respect.
  • Yield to the entire procession once the hearse has entered traffic, such as when passing through an intersection.
  • Be attentive and acknowledge vehicles in the procession that have their headlights on.

Don’ts:

  • Cut into or disrupt the procession.
  • Honk your horn at a vehicle in a funeral procession.
  • Overtake a funeral procession on the left side of a highway unless the procession is in the far-right lane.

Even if you find yourself in a hurry, please maintain a respectful attitude. Remember, there may come a time in the future when you are involved in a similar situation. Take a moment to contemplate how you would feel.

This blog aims to provide guidance to those organizing funerals in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast, helping ensure that every procession is treated with sensitivity and respect.

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