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Respectfully Yours: funeral

Dear Jacquelyn, Driving home today and I saw a funeral procession approaching. There was a police motorcycle at the front, flashing lights, and a long procession of cars with headlights on. Sadly, I saw drivers cut into the procession and honk their horns. Could you please address the protocol involved when encountering a funeral procession?

Dear Reader, It’s disappointing that this happens and even more disappointing that this needs to be addressed. Have people gotten so busy and impatient that there is a disregard for people mourning the loss of a loved one?

It is discouraging and concerning that there are some individuals who don’t have the awareness to show respect for the loss of a neighbor and fellow citizen. I will provide a refresher for drivers who are unsure of what is the right thing to do when encountering a funeral procession. If you come upon a funeral procession, drivers should be ultra-courteous and show respect for the survivors who are laying their loved one or friend to rest. The funeral procession holds a very important part in the funeral service. This is the last journey they will take with their passed loved one.

Keep in mind that every city has its own legislation pertaining to funeral processions. There are some common guidelines to remember the next time you encounter a procession. Proper funeral procession protocol is to wait at traffic lights or stop signs until the entire procession has passed. If you are traveling in the same or opposite direction on a two-way road, it is customary to pull over onto the road shoulder and wait until the procession has passed.

Look for the last vehicle in the procession, it will typically have hazard lights flashing or two flags. Once it passes by, you may continue into the normal flow of traffic. If you happen to be outside and not driving when a funeral passes, it is respectful to pause, take off your hat and even bow your head to show respect.

If you are in a hurry, take a moment to reflect while you wait. Honking the horn and revving the engine will not speed up the procession, it will just aggravate you further and upset the mourners. If you are witnessing a funeral procession, do not cut into the line and cause cars to be separated. The people in the procession are in mourning and they should not have to deal with disrespectful drivers. Whether you are participating in a funeral procession or you have encountered one, the basic rule of funeral protocol is respect. Keep in mind that a loved one has passed away. Be patient and kind. The people in the procession have lost someone irreplaceable. Please be considerate.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2018 Jacquelyn Youst