The etiquette for following a funeral procession is based on respect for everyone concerned.
The first thing to consider is the importance of arriving in plenty of time. Check out the parking facilities at the service in advance and be sure to plan for any passengers you are carrying with limited mobility.
If you are not familiar with the local area you may find the Parkodedia website helpful.
Try to familiarise yourself in advance with the route the procession will be taking. This can help you avoid unexpected delays and help you better manage the situation if you become separated from the main convoy. Reviewing the routes on Google or Apple maps in advance will ensure you are not wholly dependent on a Satnav which may unexpectedly try to take you via a different route to the main procession.
Follow the car in front of you which will normally be moving at 20-30 MPH. Staying close to the car in front should never be at the expense of maintaining a safe braking distance.
Only ensure that drivers who are not part of the procession cannot cut in if it’s 100% safe to do so. Getting too close to the vehicle behind should NEVER be used to achieve this.
If you do get split up don’t worry. Try to stay calm and re-join the procession later. If necessary, arrive separately as this is safer than driving too fast or while distracted.
Remember - safety first – always follow statutory driving regulations and best practices as the usual rules still apply.
It’s always more important to stop for traffic lights than to keep the procession together.
The Order of the Funeral Procession – Roads
The usual order for a funeral procession by road is as follows:
- If the funeral director is walking, they will normally walk in front of the hearse
- The hearse
- The chief mourners – normally close family which may include, spouse, children, parents, and siblings
- Other close family and friends
The Order of the Funeral Procession – Church and Other Service Locations
The usual order for a funeral procession is as follows:
- The officiant
- The coir (if there is one) for religious services
- The celebrant or funeral director for secular processions
- The coffin followers (the honorary pallbearers will go in front if part of the ceremony)
- The chief mourners walk directly behind the coffin
- Close family and friends
- Others attending the funeral stand as the coffin passes them as a mark of respect
When Encountering a Funeral Procession
Always be quiet and respectful, do not sound your horn unless there is an emergency and never rev your engine or play loud music.
Although funeral processions do not have a legal right of way you should nonetheless give way to cars in a procession whenever it’s possible to do so safely.
Try to be patient and only overtake a funeral procession if necessary. Passing on a dual carriageway or motorway is considered more acceptable, but you should still exercise sound judgement, care, and respect.
Its customary for pedestrians to bow their heads or stop for a funeral procession as a mark of respect and to express their sorrow. If waiting at a pedestrian crossing, try not to press the lights and instead wait until the procession has passed you by.