The traffic is moving at a snail’s pace – you can’t see why and you’re feeling frustrated. But what you may not realise is that you’re being held up by a hearse.
Walking in front of the hearse a few weeks ago during a funeral procession, we were overtaken by several cars. One of them passed so close that we had to stop.
Research completed into attitudes towards funeral corteges has suggested that traditions are slipping away. Whether it’s caring less, simply not knowing or something else, less respect is shown today than it was even 10 years ago.
So what should you do if you see a funeral procession?
If you’re driving
The standard etiquette is to just accept it. Hearses normally drive at around 20-30 mph, so stick to the same speed and turn off and find another route when you can. Beeping the horn and trying to overtake are not generally advised, although the latter is okay if you’re on a dual carriageway.
If you’re a pedestrian
Stopping what you are doing is usually welcomed and the good old-fashioned doffing of the cap or removing your hat altogether still goes down well.
If you’re crossing the road
It is appreciated if people do not cross the road in front of a funeral cortège, but standing by a zebra crossing can be confusing and hearse drivers will generally stop to be sure. It’s best to make it plain you are allowing the cortège to proceed by standing back.
If you’re travelling in the opposite direction
There is no real issue, but people often think there is. There is no expectation for people to stop or move across the road, but revving the engine is frowned upon.
There are no legal rules to follow when a cortège is passing, but the points above are much appreciated by not just us but by the bereaved. Very simply, if it was a funeral for your loved one, how would you expect others to act towards them and you?
For more on funeral processions, visit AHFreemantle.co.uk or call us on 01329 842115.
By James Keen, managing director of A H Freemantle Funeral Directors