What to Expect When Driving in a Funeral Procession

After a loved one passes on, time and the days of the week seem to blend together.

Deep within the stages of grief, it can seem impossible to focus on the technical aspects of what goes into planning a funeral, let alone, a funeral procession. Where do you go? What can you expect while driving in a funeral procession?

Let this funeral procession guide give you some peace of mind. Continue reading to learn the best form of funeral procession etiquette as well as what to expect on the day of.

The Order of the Procession

When driving in a funeral procession, it’s important to note the order in which the line of cars moves. The front of the line is traditionally preserved for the hearse, but it’s also just as common to see a form of escort clearing the way of traffic. 

This escort may be local law enforcement or other approved groups depending on any affiliation your deceased loved one may have. You’ll also be verified as a procession vehicle with either a flag or a windshield slip that says the word “funeral.”

Then right behind, is the chauffeur-driven limousines escorting the family and close friends. If this is where you belong, you’ll be riding along in this order of procession. Sometimes the family may request private vehicles, and that’s okay too; you’ll simply use your vehicle and follow within the grouping of cars for family and friends.

The last segment of the procession is open to the rest of the funeral guests. They may drive their cars as well, following behind the hearse, the family, and close friends. Once at the designated place of worship, crematorium, or gravesite, the family may decide on the order the procession will follow going in.

The family may opt to continue following the casket, or in some cases, they may wait for everyone to get in position before bringing their loved one to their final resting place.

The Rules of Funeral Procession

If you’re driving in the procession, there is a form of etiquette and loose rules that should be followed. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Remember to Arrive Early

Remember to arrive at the designated starting point on time, or early if you can. This will give you time to speak with the funeral director on the order of the procession and receive any other necessary instructions. Then you can pull your car up to the designated parking spot for easy pull-off when the procession begins.

If you know the immediate family, now will be a nice time to extend a helping hand towards anything they may need before other guests begin to arrive. If they do not, be respectful of their peace and mourning period.

Keep a Safe Pace

Before the procession begins, double-check the route with the director or any of the chauffeurs in charge of driving. You may not need it if you are following along, but in the event, you are separated, you can lead your car, and whoever may have strayed with you back in line accordingly.

Once the procession begins, and the cars pull off, it’s important to keep up with the pace of the car in front of you while leaving a safe breaking distance in between. This is to ensure that cars sharing the road do not cut you off or attempt to split you up from the group.

Most cars will honor the etiquette of what to do if they encounter a funeral procession. They will often yield or stop to let you pass, or move to another lane if they happen to interrupt the line. This is fine, and does not warrant a honk or any type of alerting on your part.

Rules of the Road

The driving speed of the procession is typically set by the hearse driver leading the procession at 20-30 mph. You have the right to follow within the same speed limit, even if the speed limit in the area is higher. You will simply utilize your hazards to show that you are with the funeral group.

Also take note that though the driving speed is reduced for the procession, all other Highway Code Rules and road regulations of the city of San Diego still apply. That means using the blinker when turning and shifting lanes, stopping stop signs, and yielding to pedestrians who have the right of way.

Park Accordingly

When you get to the location at the end of the procession, always make sure that you are parking in the correct designated spot. Compact cars should park in smaller spots and leave bigger spots for the limousines, vans, and hearse that may need to park as well.

Funeral Procession Vehicle Options

One of the great features of La Vista is the dedication we provide to helping the family and friends of the deceased with every step of the funeral and burial arrangements, including choosing the right vehicles for the procession. We offer various types of transport. They include:

  • The Funeral Coach: also known as the hearse, to transport your loved one to and from the service and burial site
  • The Limousine: which conveniently transports the family and friends together in one vehicle
  • Other Service Vehicles: which includes vans or cars if you’re not looking to use a limousine

Let Us Plan the Procession for You

This is a difficult time for those who recently lost someone near and dear to their hearts, especially if you’re in charge of funeral preparations. It’s La Vista Memorial Park’s mission to help you get through the hard things, including funeral procession planning, so you can spend time honoring your loved one’s memory.

Let us help you prepare to say goodbye together.

For more information on our funeral services, please visit our direct website.