The Daily Ping

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August 25th, 2003

Funeral Processions

I thought that everybody was taught about funeral processions in driver’s ed. If you see a stream of cars with flags driving with their lights on, occasionally honking the horn and driving through red lights, you can be pretty sure you’re looking at a funeral procession. Common sense says you let the stream of cars go, and continue on your way after they’ve passed. It’s the way it is.

But in the last two funeral processions I’ve been a part of, the car I’ve been riding in was almost sideswiped by idiots who apparently have no clue what a funeral procession looks like. During the most recent one, a woman (on a cell phone, of course) came barreling through a light despite the fact everyone was stopped, despite the fact the cars going through the red light had their lights on and a flag on their car, and despite the fact there was a myriad honking going on to alert drivers of the procession. She came within about three feet of causing an accident and she didn’t even flinch. She just kept right on talking and driving.

Are that many people really clueless about what to do when they see a funeral procession?

Posted in Cars

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 9:40:46 am
Some people are that clueless, but I think it's more a factor of inattentive driving, and the feeling of "Great, now I get caught behind a funeral procession!!", so people try to beat them out.

To be quite blunt, I think it's more of a case of people being assholes while driving near funeral processions rather than being clueless.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 9:54:59 am
I agree. I think it's the wanting to get around a funeral procession that causes people to act all dumb-like.

I've experienced this the last few times I was a part of a procession, too. Lots of people trying to merge into the procession - that seems to be popular around here.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 11:17:34 am
Sometimes, especially if you are in the middle of a longer procession, it's difficult to know. In the olden days, the headlights on in daytime were the giveaway, but many cars have headlights that are on all the time, so sometimes you don't realize it is a funeral procession.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 12:43:08 pm
Chris -- good point. Maybe that's why they're handing out the little flags for the cars now.

I neglected to mention that this most recent near-accident was across the street from the cemetary.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 1:03:41 pm
In addition to the little flags, some funeral homes have their own vehicles equipped with flashing police-stlye lights leading the way, so people know it's a funeral procession.

The lights are not blue or red, of course, but they are hard to miss. Especially here in Delaware, when the funeral procession takes you down I-95 right before rush hour, it's almost a necessity.

FROM: cd-rw
DATE: Monday August 25, 2003 -- 11:46:15 pm
...driving through red lights...

is this legal? i've seen many funeral processions but have never seen them driving through red lights... that seems like a death wish just waiting to happen...

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 12:08:49 am
cd-rw: it varies from state-to-state, apparently. According to this article:

"In Maryland, the procession can go through red lights only if the lead vehicle has entered an intersection on a green light. This applies whether or not the procession has a police escort."


"In Virginia, however, a funeral procession has the right of way in an intersection only if it has a police escort, Story said. Without one, mourners must obey traffic lights."

DATE: Sunday August 31, 2003 -- 12:33:25 pm
Some people just show no respect anymore. In the county that I live in funeral processions are escorted everytime by the sheriff's department and they are very effective in letting motorist's know to get off the roadway when they have their emergency lights on. To stop wrecks from happening every funeral procession should be escorted by police.

FROM: F. Ruggiero
DATE: Wednesday October 1, 2003 -- 12:54:11 am
My family owns a funeral home. I think the real problem is lack of respect for others--people just think or themselves. This happens all the time--I think it is a decline in our morals.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday October 16, 2003 -- 11:59:42 am
Now there's a term for it, albeit an uncreative one: "Funeral Rage."

FROM: Suzanne
DATE: Monday May 17, 2004 -- 3:58:37 am
I was in a procession recently and I was appalled at the way people treated the procession. I'm from Virginia where we always have police escorts. One in front and one in the rear, but in New York, it was madness and mayhem with no escort, no flags and no respect. We also drove at top speed like we were in a rush to get the individual into the ground.

DATE: Saturday January 15, 2005 -- 7:59:32 am
I agree you find people who are either oblivious to the proper traffic laws toward funeral processions, or just don't care. But my latest experiences (3) almost let to traffic accidents. First off, directors seem only to give out flags for the cars at the funeral homes prior to going to church etc. And they fail to tell people that they must put on their highlights and more importantly FLASHERS being many cars lights remain on in newer cars. So be aware of that fact.

FROM: [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday February 15, 2005 -- 12:56:06 pm

FROM: Andrew Costa
DATE: Tuesday August 23, 2005 -- 1:26:54 am
I am an Air Force Honor Guard member in Texas serving DFW, Waco, and the plains of TX. I have performed over 400 military funerals and in all of them I have seen disregard on the part of civilians against funeral processions and motorcoaches. Recently, the PURPLE light has come into effect here. This denotes that the vehicles behind this light are funeral procession vehicles. I was privy to ride along in a 24 hour car during my last stint and was pleased to see one police car and three police motorcycles with the entourage. The motorcycles held up traffic and rushed through and ahead to get traffic pulled over. I like that, however it is sad that we have use these means to FORCE others to show respect, especially for a funeral procession where the American Flag is draped over the casket. Unfortunately, though, Texas has no law regarding the right of way for funeral processions. It seems that everyone is simply going about it as "The way we have always done this". It would be nice to have a uniform platform to base ALL U.S. funerals, and make it law.

FROM: Tami
DATE: Wednesday August 31, 2005 -- 12:03:22 pm
This is very interesting. Two days ago, my husband and I were driving in a procession to the burial for a 6 1/2 wk old child and got hit going through an intersection. The opposite driver was not paying attention. I think that drivers do not pay attention and observe funeral processions. Now, the other insurance company is claiming possible no fault. I think this a ridiculous and obsurd.

FROM: snaily
DATE: Wednesday August 31, 2005 -- 8:06:02 pm
yeah i think its people just being pushy, not clueless. i mean, when you see a bunch of huge black herses driving around, (dont know if i spelled that right) its obvious something's up. another good point-i hate when people talk on cellphones when driving!

FROM: Danielle
DATE: Monday October 3, 2005 -- 11:44:52 pm
I live in Maryland and I had a loooong funeral procession going past me at a red light. When my light turned green, I honked at them and eventually got through (although they were honking back at me and acted like they were going to hit me). I don't think this is disrespectful, I mean I was trying to get to work...I didn't have the beautiful afternoon off like those people!

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday October 4, 2005 -- 8:01:12 am
I don't think this is disrespectful, I mean I was trying to get to work...I didn't have the beautiful afternoon off like those people!

Yay for being totally self-absorbed!

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday October 5, 2005 -- 10:39:48 am
I don't recall any teaching in driver's ed about funeral processions. Most of the time, when I see someone busting a funeral procession, it's a young kid who probably hasn't confronted one before. It's almost always a girl. I hate to think that there are those out there who are just too stupid to understand how disrespectul it is to break the line--not to mention names, Danielle.

The older people, who are over their invincibility mindset, tend to take a moment and contemplate the end. You can observe drivers and passengers taking big deep breaths and slowing down the pace for a minute as the procession passes by. You'll also notice that many motorists will make the sign of the cross or offer some sort of blessing from behind the wheel.

FROM: Doug
DATE: Wednesday October 5, 2005 -- 11:54:39 pm
Just wait until you get hit in a funeral procession that you are going to in order to bury a young relative of yours....this may change your prospective!

Here is a thought. Why not take the few minutes it takes to wait for the procession to pass to be thankful for the people you are blessed to have with you in this world.

Life is can wait!

Be responsible enough to leave early to get to work on time instead of putting the lives of others in a funeral procession at risk.

FROM: Andrew
DATE: Monday October 10, 2005 -- 10:47:24 pm
You mean to tell me that you are so consumed with yourself that you busted a procession just to get to work? As if you really wanted to be at work anyway. The sad thing is, I have no choice but defend your idiot-way of thinking. Like I said before, as a military member in the Honor Guard, I perform a lot of funerals, esp with the war in Iraq. I tell you what, some lady breaks my convoy of funeral procession vehicles, I am pulling her over and (try to avoid bitch-slapping her) issuing a government citation against the license to get her off the road. Be thankful, woman, that you are alive waiting to get to work, and not in the back of that hearse.

FROM: Andrew
DATE: Monday October 10, 2005 -- 10:51:48 pm
For those of you who might be a little patriotic, here is the website of an Army Specialist whose funeral came across my military channel email. This is very powerful. Maybe someone like DANIELLE should see this in order to better understand funerals, and the military. Thank you to all who support those of us in the Armed Forces!!

FROM: Danielle
DATE: Tuesday October 11, 2005 -- 5:55:28 pm
LOL, i thought that might get some bitching out of y'all! Five responses in one week. Really, A+ for Effort, all of you!

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday October 12, 2005 -- 9:13:14 am
This is exactly the type of idiotic response I would expect from a dumbass funeral procession buster.

FROM: Roscoe
DATE: Saturday October 22, 2005 -- 5:58:45 pm
While I agree that yielding to a passing procession (say, while waiting at a light) is proper, there are traffic situations (never covered in driver's ed) that suggest breaking into the line is prudent. While on a busy interstate, I came upon a long procession in the rightmost lane. I needed to get to a right exit, and could not without breaking into the line (proceeding onto another distant exit wasn't an option). I signalled and slowed considerably, but wasn't allowed in. By waiting in a travel lane for the procession to pass, I had created a hazard to which procession participants had contributed. It seems to me that funeral processions should expect the rest of us to yield, as long as a dangerous situation isn't created by doing so. Any thoughts?

FROM: Andrew Costa
DATE: Sunday November 13, 2005 -- 3:39:11 pm
Breaking into a funeral procession is never prudent. For your situation, it would have been cooth to simply slow down and stay behind the entourage and then exit, or speed up to the next couple of exits. Breaking through a line simply to expedite your travel and time shows your lack of respect for someone's life, in that regard. I am sure that you wouldn't that to happen in a funeral procession of one of your family members. If you have the time and can manage around it, take the next exit. (This is only a thought, not a complaint).

DATE: Friday November 25, 2005 -- 6:13:46 pm
I just got home from work on the day after Thanksgiving and for the 2nd time in 4 months was delayed on the Highway due to a funeral procession.

I personally think this is ridiculous. I45 was shut down in both cases with cars skidding to a stop behind me. This is safety???

To shut down a 5 lane highway for a funeral procession is nuts. My condolences to the family but causing a situation where traffic accident could seriously hurt someone to facilitate a funeral is short sided thinking. If it is not the law Sheriff officers have no right shutting down traffic and inconveniencing hundreds with the procession.

In both cases traffic flow stopped and started and when moving was as slow as 30 mph. And in both cases this was for around 15 miles.

Just my 2 cents. If it were my family with the loss I would have the same opinion. To put others in jeopardy for a procession just does not make sense. I plan on calling the Sheriff's office on Monday to complain. One or Two lanes for the officers and the procession would be a controlled procession - the entire freeway is ridiculous.

FROM: Andrew Costa
DATE: Monday November 28, 2005 -- 10:57:25 pm
This doesn't have much to do with funeral processions on the road.... but last week I was performing military funerals at the Dallas/Forth-Worth National Cemetery. We have the ability to see our procession across the valley before it enters our staging area. We saw the black Government lead van pull over the hill. Behind the GOV was one Lime Green Hearse with two super stretch Lime Green Limousines. Now, my team of 15 were able to keep military bearing during the arrival of the service and the duration of our ceremony, but once we returned to the building to debrief, you can only imagine the laughter. What happened to Black, White, or Gray? Thoughts, anyone. I am still trying not to laugh too hard because I know that next month I will probably be working with that funeral home again.

FROM: Sandy
DATE: Wednesday December 21, 2005 -- 5:40:02 pm
I live in Md. and came up upon a funeral from the rear. The car had emergency blinkers on and that was all that I saw. I pulled along side thinking the guy was having car trouble and noticed the car in from of him had his blinkers on also. I finally noticed that that car had a sign that said funeral in its window, which actually wasn't much help as it was hard to see. I came upon a red light and the funeral continued on its way. At the intersection a car came through from the left and almost hit on of the cars, and tooted loudly. I agree with the person that said with cars using running lights now a person might think that it was just someone running the light. I'm sure he didn't see the funeral car. There was, no police person at the light either. I have been driving for a long time and it really frightened me. I would like to know what we can do about it to help. I use running lights all of the time and am considering not using them but that really won't help much. Something else needs to be done to keep major accidents from happening.

DATE: Monday March 27, 2006 -- 5:54:28 pm
It's a personal choice, of course, but I wonder if folks would be quite so adamant about stopping for funeral processions if they knew the historic reason for their act. In the days of horses and buggies, it was feared by some very superstitious folk that if you continued on a road opposite a hearse carrying a coffin the soul of the deceased, if it had not already been taken to heaven, might go into your horse and possess it.
So, if you stop for funeral processions, are you afraid that the soul of the person being buried has already been consigned to someplace other than heaven (not a lot of other options, there...), and that it might leap
into the soul of your car and take up residence?
What sort of respect does stopping or slowing a car show to a dead body? Does the body care if cars are going by? Is there something respectful about a stopped car that is missing in a moving vehicle?
I mean, WHY do people want to do this? Is there any good reason other than, as in the beginning of the custom, mere superstition?

FROM: Riley
DATE: Tuesday April 11, 2006 -- 3:33:35 pm
I completely disagree with having to stop for funeral processions. The people are dead! You can't disrespect them, they no longer exist. Yes, there is a long
line of people who are sorry said person is dead, but personally I don't care. And the comment about leaving early for work is complete bullshit. Why should I leave 15 minutes early for work everyday, and arrive at work, a place I don't want to be, 15 minutes early as well 99% of the time so that if someone bites the dust I can sit by peacefully while the cars go by, its ridiculous. I mean come on the person is dead, there is no heaven, they aren't watching you, you're not going to be thrown in the existentia hell of your choice for trying to get to work on the ROAD.

FROM: irony
DATE: Thursday June 22, 2006 -- 5:04:02 am
People in the procesion are complaining about people being self absorbed and showing a lack of respect. What about the lack of respect the procesion shows by disopbeying traffic laws and forcing everyday people who are just trrying to live their lives to take part in someone elses' parade of death. There is no reason a procession is neccesary, its just another fee the fuineral home can bill for. Just drive to the cemetary like a regular person and honor the dead their.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday June 22, 2006 -- 11:12:21 am
What about the lack of respect the procesion shows by disopbeying traffic laws and forcing everyday people who are just trrying to live their lives to take part in someone elses' parade of death.

You have no heart, and no soul. Wow.

Just drive to the cemetary like a regular person and honor the dead their.

And no spelling ability. ZING!

FROM: Peter
DATE: Thursday June 22, 2006 -- 1:50:55 pm
As a Florida Funeral Director, I can only say that drivers are the main reason that not only funeral processions, but emergency vehicles (ambulances, fire trucks, police cars etc.) have a difficult time getting to where they need to go. Contrary to one response, we do not charge nor make any other money whether there is a funeral procession or not. The only additional charge is paid directly to the Broward County Sheriff's Office which provides 2 off duty Deputies to escort the funeral. We have made it policy that all processions, if possible, have a motor escort. From time to time, the sheirff's office and private motor escort companies are unable to accomodate, so we must go it alone. Not only is the procession a tradition, a sign of respect, but it also ensure that everyone arrives to the cemetery in a timely manner. In addition, those from out of town are able to follow along and not get lost as there usually are a number of people unfamiliar with the area. Anyone who cannot wait the minute or two for a procession to pass really needs to take a good look at themselves and see how stupid they are. While I do not agree with closing down a highway, I do think there is nothing wrong with giving respect that you would desire if you were in the limousine burying your family member. And to the idoit that says there is no heaven...well... it's not even worth dignifying his remark with a response.

FROM: jammer
DATE: Saturday June 24, 2006 -- 10:10:25 pm
no special rights in south carolina obey the law no escorts ects...

DATE: Saturday July 1, 2006 -- 10:20:23 pm
Actually, I had no idea that funeral processions were ever permitted to travel through red lights in average cars marked only by an informal sign saying "funeral". Today I had the experience of not just one car going through a red light, but an unending line of cars going through a red light in a busy intersection in a major US city -- there was no police escort, no flashing lights. I was confused and irritated -- and I am sorry to say, but my honest reaction was the the people in the procession were self-absorbed. How could they miss the two accidents they almost caused?? So finally, I did "break the line" -- in a way, to counter what I perceived as their brazen actions and disrespect of the law. The two cars I separated almost hit me and they both got out of their cars to scream at me.

Personally, I honor the living and the dead. But the anger they expressed on the way to a funeral was outrageous. Is that anger an expression of respect? I did not intend any disrespect. And although I guilty of being a white girl who has never been part of a funeral line, I really did not think what they were doing was legal or courteous or safe. I probably would have respected a "traditional" funeral line of official black Herst cars or limousines, but I did not recognize the people I saw driving past me as people actually linked to a funeral. And I could not share in their grief when I only saw their anger.

I do appreciate reading the comments of those people who have written above. I will rethink the situation and perhaps I will regret my action of breaking the line. But consider this: if all people on this planet are connected spiritually, then who is "breaking" the line. And perhaps there are other, more important ways to show our respect to the dead.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday July 1, 2006 -- 11:56:56 pm
At least your experience is more based in ignorance, and has a little less of that hatred vibe happening from earlier one-posters.

FROM: Cynthia
DATE: Sunday July 2, 2006 -- 1:16:15 pm
I live in an area with a large Amish population. When an Amish person dies, several dozen horse-drawn buggies may take part in a funeral procession. Traffic is normally stopped at major intersections through which the procession must pass, as otherwise it could not possibly proceed in any reasonable fashion.

All of that is an aside, however. Not recognizing a funeral procession is one thing; choosing to disrupt it is something else entirely and it denotes an appalling lack of empathy. When my mother and my father were buried in northwestern Ohio persons passing on the SIDEWALK actually stopped for the processions. Both my parents died just before Christmas, and the weather was bitterly cold for both funerals, but there were people who stopped walking, took of their caps, and held them over their hearts in a gesture of respect for a dead stranger. I will never forget those simple acts of gracious courtesy, which were freely offered and not compelled by any rule or regulation. Thank heavens there are among us those with abundant hearts.

FROM: Adam
DATE: Thursday August 3, 2006 -- 7:20:20 pm
Okay, first off, there is a HUGE difference between an emergency vehicle trying to get to the scene of an accident or whatever, and a funeral procession getting to the cemetery. There is absolutely NO reason that a funeral procession NEEDS to get to the cemetery in such a hurry. I should also point out that I have never personally seen a procession move at more that 15 mph, so they are obviously not in that much of a hurry.

This idea of showing respect for the dead by allowing them to pass without stopping is absurd. It has nothing to do with respect anyway, this custom was started centuries ago out of SUPERSTITION that the dead could not be stopped on the way to their final resting place.

Given how busy America's roadways are today, and how many people are out there commuting to or in the process of doing their jobs, why don't we let this stupid superstition die out. We need to stop this ridiculous practice of holding up and stopping the daily lives of the LIVING people, so the DEAD can be on time for their appointment at the cemetery. This has absolutely nothing to do with respect or lack of respect.

And to all those who think that everybody else is just "thinking of themselves," take a look in the mirror. When a funeral procession stops traffic to go through an intersection, the funeral procession is the minority. Why on Earth would we stop the countless others from their daily lives because of the ONE dead person. It seems to me that it's the people in the procession that are the ones "thinking only of themselves." Let's quit being so self-centered and let the living get on with their daily lives. The dead has all of eternity to rest in their grave, lets not waste the precious little time that the living has on Earth.

Let's let old superstitions die, and stop this nonsense. I have a life to live, the dead person in the hearse does not.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday August 3, 2006 -- 9:15:06 pm
Let's let old superstitions die, and stop this nonsense. I have a life to live, the dead person in the hearse does not.

While living your life, perhaps you'll learn some etiquette and respect along the way? That would help a lot, it seems.

I'm absolutely surprised that there are so many fuckwits out there who think that a funeral procession is a real real problem in their lives. Amazing. (Thanks again, Ryan!)

FROM: Adam
DATE: Friday August 4, 2006 -- 12:14:06 am

Thank you, you've certainly put me in MY place haven't you? You must not have really read my post, did you? Why don't you try rereading it for the points you missed. You know what? I'll save you the trouble. Let me catch you up to speed...

It has NOTHING to do with respect or ettiquette. It is a carry-over from an old stupid tradition that's centuries old. Do you make the sign of the cross when a black cat crosses your path? Do you worry about having seven years of bad luck when you break a mirror? Same thing here. Stopping for a funeral procession DOES NOT show any respect. I have plenty of respect for the dead as well as the living, but I do not need to stop my car to show it.

I can't believe you still don't get that this is a problem. Sure, maybe I only have to stop for a funeral procession once in a while, I don't live near a cemetery or a funeral home, so it does not happen to me all that often. But, I am looking at the big picture as a whole. I'm not worrying about my small inconveniences, because I am not self-centered like most of the people who have posted here. So, let me ask you, in an average funeral procession, traveling an average distance to the cemetery, with the average number of cars in the procession, in normal day to day traffic, how many other cars do you think might be held up by the procession? 100? 200? Who knows? Some may need to just get across the street, and some may need to get all the way across town, but that doesn't even matter here.

Look at it from a logical stand point for a minute. Put aside your views on morality, respect, religeon, or anything else, and just look at it from the sake of logic, just for a minute. You have one deceased person. You have several, maybe hundreds of cars that the procession will force to stop on its journey. That's a whole lot of people who are out there working at their jobs, trying to get to their jobs, maybe trying to make it to the next meeting, and probably most of them have a whole lot crappier job than you do and they're just trying to make a living. Now, I hope you can obviously see that if instead of the deceased person there was a living person, than it would obviously be pretty damn arrogant and conceited to expect everybody else to put their lives on hold while this living person traveled across town. Now, why should it be any different if it is, in fact, a deceased person? What do they have to get to that's so damn important that they get to hold up everybody else? They're not going to miss their next business meeting and loose a client on a big account. They're not going to be late making a delivery and get fired. They're not in a hurry at all.

Listen, man, I'm trying to be as clear as I can in explaining why I feel this way. I'm not trying to be rude or offensive to anyone here, I'm just trying to get people to understand this concept. This funeral procession idea IS part of our culture, but people don't realize what it's all about. The unbroken funeral procession is NOT about respect, it's about superstition.

Given how terrible traffic is in a lot of places in this country now a days, it really is time to let this one go. I mean, come on. Even if it WAS about respect, you're not really getting anyone's respect by FORCING them to stop their car for your procession. If we have laws about it, like I'm sure most places in the country do, then if I stop for your funeral procession because a cop has blocked off the road from me, I'm showing you no more or less respect than I do when I stop at the intersection to let you pass by when I my light is red and your is green. It is a sad truth that some people aren't going to have a bit of respect at all. But, just because I disagree with allowing your funeral procession to disrupt traffic doesn't mean that I don't have respect for your loss. In fact, I probably have MORE respect for the deceased than most people do. I grew up in a military family, where all males in my family served at least one enlistment in the military. I myself am a veteran, and honor and respect are very important to me. I also realize how important ceremony is. Unfortunately, not many people seem to have the same high morals that I do, and not many seem to have been brought up to show respect any more. But, this nonsense of stopping the traffic for a funeral procession, isn't about respect, and it doesn't show any respect. Allowing traffic to pass normally does not show any lack of respect. Now, the kinds of things that DO show respect: I can (and do) give a little wave of condolence as we pass, maybe a sympathetic nod of my head towards you when we make eye contact, maybe a tip of my hat if I'm wearing one, you get the idea. But don't disrupt the entirety of down town traffic for your funeral procession. That has nothing to do with respect, especially when you're forcing people to oblige you.

So, again, let me say that old superstitions need to die out, and we need to be more logical in our thinking and stop disrupting traffic and the lives of countless other people, because of the one deceased person.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday August 4, 2006 -- 8:36:48 am
Thank you, you've certainly put me in MY place haven't you?

I sure did!

Oh, wait, you're being sarcastic. Hm.

You must not have really read my post, did you?

Sure I did.

Look at it from a logical stand point for a minute. Put aside your views on morality, respect, religeon [sic], or anything else, and just look at it from the sake of logic, just for a minute. You have one deceased person. You have several, maybe hundreds of cars that the procession will force to stop on its journey.

You can't look at it from an entirely logical perspective, ever. Why? Because people are involved, and we're not logical.

Vulcans, yes. Humans, no.

This is a tradition, one that is borne out of respect. Curious, have you ever been in a funeral procession? (In fact, I'm opening up that question to all of the procession-haters out there.) When you're in one, particularly in the lead car, the last thing you're thinking about is some jackass who wants to get through the upcoming light because he might "loose" (GAH!) a client or not get to work on time. That's not my problem; that's yours. And you have no right to shift that on me when I'm going through a time of serious personal grief and loss.

But, just because I disagree with allowing your funeral procession to disrupt traffic doesn't mean that I don't have respect for your loss.

Sure it does. Separating out the two shows a stunning lack of emotion. Looking at it logically is impractical. It serves your argument to some degree but it doesn't account for anything in the real world.

So, again, let me say that old superstitions need to die out, and we need to be more logical in our thinking and stop disrupting traffic and the lives of countless other people, because of the one deceased person.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one."

We also tend to say something ("Bless you", etc.) after someone sneezes. That's an old superstition. And people sometimes hold their buttons as processions pass. That's an old superstition too. And what about not putting a 13th floor on a building? And... and... and....

Unfortunately, not many people seem to have the same high morals that I do, and not many seem to have been brought up to show respect any more.

You know, if you're so hung up on respect, why not have respect for the people in the procession and not (as you might put it) the dead body in the hearse?

Doug said it best way up thread:

Here is a thought. Why not take the few minutes it takes to wait for the procession to pass to be thankful for the people you are blessed to have with you in this world.

Life is can wait!

Be responsible enough to leave early to get to work on time instead of putting the lives of others in a funeral procession at risk.

FROM: Adam
DATE: Friday August 4, 2006 -- 9:28:13 pm
You're just not getting my point, are you? You even said yourself "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." So why are we stopping the many for the few in the procession? Seriously, I understand the greiving and the loss that people suffer when someone they know has died. But what difference does it really make to the funeral goers if you arrive at the cemetary a few minutes late? Makes a whole lot less of a difference for the funeral goers than it does for rest of the population.

Once again, let me ask, cause you still haven't answered my question. If you are FORCING me to stop for your procession, with police escorts, am I really showing you respect then? No, because you are FORCING me. If this gives you some sense that I am showing respect by complying with the orders of police presence, than you are sadly a victim of an illusion. That's not respect, that's bending people to your will and then THINKING they are showing respect.

Having said that, let me say, yet again, that I have an immense amount of respect for the dead, and sincere condolences to all that have survived the dead and are escorting them to their final resting place. But you are still mistaken that this idea of an unbroken funeral procession is a tradition born out of respect. It is NOT out of respect. It is out of silly fears of evil spirits and superstition. Saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes, or "not putting a 13th floor in a building" I also think are ludicrous. I don't "bless" people when they burp, why should I "bless" someone when they sneeze? And 13th floors in buildings? That's ridiculous too. There is absolutely no reason to leave out a 13th floor. It's all just stupid superstition, man, just like this idea of the funeral procession not having to obey traffic signals.

This idea of leaving "early to get to work on time instead of putting the lives of others in a funeral procession at risk" is also a load of crap. First off, I ALWAYS leave a little early, just because it is prudent, and I prefer not to be late. Also, I have NEVER put anyone else's lives at risk by my driving. I have never personally broken a funeral procession because every one I've ever seen has been escorted by police (again, a waste of taxpayer money). Nor would I ever force my way through a procession, because that's just idiocy and I practice defensive driving. Instead of jamming my car into the line physically in protest, I'm trying to do the sensible thing and educate people and make them see reality. There's just no need for a funeral procession to violate traffic signals, with or without a police escort, just to go to the cemetery. Really, if your procession did get broken somewhere in the line by a red light (assuming it stopped for it) and half of your procession got there five minutes later than the first half, then so what? They're not going to start without you, and I promise you, you're not going to miss anything. I mean, sure, you can make the opposite point, that so what if you're five minutes late to work? But what I'm trying to get you and everybody else to see, is that you're expecting countless others to be inconvenienced for one funeral procession, rather than maybe splitting the one procession, and allowing traffic to flow more smoothly for everybody else.

I will grant you this, you got me on the logic versus emotion point, that's fair, but what I was trying to do was get you to see how ridiculous it is from a logic standpoint. Once you've looked at it from that light, now, throw the emotions back in. Blowing through every red light on your way to the cemetery isn't going to bring the dead person back to life, it isn't going to make anyone feel better, it simply does nothing except disrupt the flow of traffic! Why are you so hung up on the fact that stopping for your procession shows respect? You're forcing me to stop anyway, so how do you know whether I actually am showing respect, or if I'm really just sitting there cursing everyone under my breath? You don't know what I'm thinking in that sort of situation. Let me express that this is NOT what I'm actually thinking, and I DO have compassion and respect for the loss, but I'm trying to show you that by FORCING everyone to stop, you have no idea if they're showing respect or not. If I were in the procession, I would personally rather receive sincere gestures of respect from others like I mentioned in my earlier post (the head nod, the tipping of the hat, etc.), than I would this false impression that everyone is showing respect because they've been FORCED to stop for my procession.

I just want to know why it's so damn important for the entire procession to get to the cemetery at exactly the same time, without stopping. It's not like anyone's evidently in a hurry, because every procession I've seen has gone approximately 15 mph. So what is the reason? Why on earth should the entire rest of the population stop for the procession? Well, I've already told you why, but you don't seem to be grasping it yet. IT'S BECAUSE OF SUPERSTITION...IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RESPECT!! Quit being so self centered and think of the rest of the population. It's unfortunate that the people in the procession have suffered a loss, but stopping the rest of the city's traffic does not make it any better. If your entire emotional state is hinged on that simple fact, and it just makes you feel that much more terrible that the rest of the living people can simultaneously feel sympathy for you AND want to continue on with their lives, than you are a sad person. I know this makes me seem evil, and I'm sure you think I am a terrible person for saying this, but I'm just trying to tell you the hard truth. There are a LOT of people who really just don't give a damn about your loss ( I am NOT one of them) and that in itself is a sad fact, but by FORCING them to stop for you, you haven't gained anything. This is what I'm trying to get you to see. Those who aren't going to respect you, certainly aren't going to change their view by you forcing an empty gesture upon them.

What I'm trying to say is, emotion or not, respect or not, making the rest of the city stop for your procession doesn't change the situation, won't really make you feel any better, and certainly won't bring a deceased person back to life. All it does is satisfy a stupid old superstition. Because of this fact, and going back to what YOU said... "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." In this instance, stopping traffic for a funeral procession is in the "needs of the few." The "needs of the many" are for the rest of us to carry on with our lives. Let the traffic pattern flow normally. What have you really gained otherwise? What have you got to lose by stopping for red lights? If this empty gesture forced upon others really makes you feel better in your time of loss, then you really need to refocus yourself on the things that really matter. Spend time with your loved ones, grieve for your lost loved ones, and try to put your life back into order and try to move on with your life. Quit worring about what everyone else thinks, and definitely quit basing your emotional state on everybody else.

Having said all of this, I am truly sorry if you've suffered a loss, and all I can offer is my sympathy and condolences. In answer to your question, yes, I have been involved in funeral processions in the past, I have even been a pallbearer for my Aunt when she died. What got me through the tough times was the love and support of my family, and enjoying their comfort and their presence in our time of loss. Whether traffic stopped for us or not, really wasn't even a single thought in the back of my mind. Losing a loved one is tragic, and a very sad time, but that's really no reason at all to disrupt the rest of the population.

Please, answer this question for me. Why should I have to stop for your procession, what good does that really do for you, and why is it that in your time of loss, you choose to express yourself megalomaniacally, appoint yourself as the most important person in the world, and expect everybody else to bend to your will? Why must you do this, instead of focusing on what really matters in such a time, like your family members. I'm really not trying to be spiteful, and I'm certainly not trying to be offensive or disrespectful, I'm just trying to put things in perspective and get you to see that there are billions of other people on the planet besides yourself. People can and do sympathize with you, and people can and will have respect for you and your family during your time of loss without having to disrupt the daily lives of everyone else. I know it's hard in such a time, but please, try to think of the bigger picture, and quit mistaking people's desire to carry on their lives normally for disrespect.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday August 5, 2006 -- 8:34:05 am
You even said yourself "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

I was being sarcastic. Zing?

If you are FORCING me to stop for your procession, with police escorts, am I really showing you respect then? No, because you are FORCING me.

I hate driving 25 mph on this one street near my house, Adam. It stinks. I want to do 40. But I'm forced to do so. Why? Because of the law. Now, I'm not going to go down the path of how a bill becomes a law (reference Schoolhouse Rock, or contact your local elected official), but in the olden days laws were created out of what mattered to the community. So somewhere along the line enough people in your community said, "We will stop for processions" and a law was made. It wasn't done to piss you off or make you late for work; odds are quite good it was done out of... ready?... respect for the people in the procession and respect for the dead.

Even if you don't see it as an issue of respect, someone did (and given how incredibly common this is, at least in America, many many people did) - enough to make it a law. I can't answer why the law is what it is; your local politicians should be able to do so. And if you want to get the law changed, of course, you can try it. But I think you're facing a very uphill battle and that your opinion is in the minority.

In conclusion, however, I maintain that the opinion that funeral processions should be "normalized" is selfish and cold. Fortunately, the only people who really like selfish, cold people are in the White House. So good luck!

FROM: Adam
DATE: Saturday August 5, 2006 -- 6:32:13 pm
Okay, fine, whatever, man. I think at least you've finally gotten the point I was trying to make, even if I didn't change your mind (not like I really expected to change your mind).

I have to say that this honestly doesn't bother me enough to try to form a campaign and push through laws to get it passsed. I just want to try and get people to realize the fallicy of believing it's out of respect. I mean, if you still feel it's an issue of respect, then I seriously doubt I'll be able to change your mind, but I just wanted you to realize that it didn't start out that way, regardless of what it may have become today. It began as a superstition, not out of respect. Respect is shown at the wake and at the service; moving the body to the cemetery without stopping is for superstitious reasons.

I still maintain that I have the utmost respect for the dead and the dying and for their grieving families, but I just still don't see how altering the flow of traffic benefits ANYBODY, let alone the mourners in the procession. If I missed the sarcasm in your "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" comment, then please excuse me, because I was under the impression that this was such a well known and believed ideology, universally accepted by EVERYBODY, that I didn't interpret your remark to be sarcasm. Honestly, I wondered why you wrote it, because, as I believe I've shown, it helps my case and hurts yours.

I know there's no way we're ever going to divorce emotion from such situations and be able to view things logically, but I hope one day, maybe when traffic becomes to terrible or too many accidents are caused, that people will finally come to the realization that this is not necessary, and does not indicate either respect, or the lack of it.

I believe I've stated my case as best I can, there's no other way I can think of to try to illustrate my point. You're either going to see my viewpoint or not (most likely not) and there's nothing else I can say to try to explain it any better. Please, please, understand that I am NOT being selfish or cold (infact, as I've said, I believe I'm being less selfish than you are since I'm thinking of the population as a whole, whereas you're thinking ONLY of yourself and your fellow mourners) and please understand that I mean no disrespect or offense to anyone. I have no problem at all with any funerary rites or customs, I just believe that the funeral procession should obey all traffic signals like the rest of us, in order to preserve the natural flow of traffic. Is this really such a big thorn in your side? Does this simple fact, really upset you that much? I mean, there's just no reason why a funeral procession can't follow the traffic signals. Emergency vehicles rushing to the scene of an accident, I can see, but there's just no justification for a funeral procession to do the same. I just wish you wouldn't keep on confusing the issue by interpreting it as a lack of respect. It IS possible have respect for the people in the funeral procession, and still want them to obey traffic laws for the general good of the population. This custom was fine, I'm sure, decades ago when there were much fewer cars on the road, and the population was so much smaller. But today, in the dense urban jungles we've made, there's just not enough space on the roadways for all the cars WITHOUT causing immense traffic jams for a funeral procession. It's just time we moved past this because it provides no benefit to the mourners (or the deceased) and has the potential to cause such huge disruptions in traffic. It may not be bad for the cars right up on the funeral procession who only have to wait a few minutes, but given the right conditions, by stopping them for 10 minutes, it can back up and cause traffic jams a mile behind lasting hours. This can be a huge problem if you're in a densely populated city.

Robert Davis January 3, 2007, 7:56 pm

I agree with the LAW in SC, you are not to pass a blue light escorted funeral Procession on roads and streets, on the otherhand, the the traffic in the opposite lane should not stop. That is against the law (impeding traffic). If you drive, it is your responcibility to know the laws, read up and act accordingly.

Bill May 15, 2007, 9:14 pm

I find it interesting that so many personal attacks were made by a persons advocating unconditional respect. Second, without statutory and common law what right does any person have to judge the righteousness of another persons actions. Outside of our laws we have a social compact to be cordial in our daily affairs. By no means should any person knowingly confront a funeral procession in a dangerous manner for the sake of getting to work on time. However, by no means should anyone attached to a funeral procession, or otherwise, acost a person for offending their own views regarding respect. Both persons are equally in the wrong. They both create more victims.

Mith August 25, 2007, 5:40 pm

I don’t remember ever learning about funerals in drivers Ed. Hell I’ve actually havn’t been to a funeral. The big problem that I ran into was that these guys were all honking horns. Not just the people in the funeral, EVERYBODY. So I didn’t know if they were rushing me to make the left turn or what the hell was going on.

So I decide to just go ahead and make the left, but to be very careful, and I end up stranded on the intersection..

Well, guess I know better now when I run into another funeral procession mid-traffic.. which will be perhaps sometime within the next 20 years of my life??

BC December 5, 2007, 5:49 pm

To all of you that have had a funeral procession broken by a vehicle, I apologize. I was the one who did that today. I’m sorry. I did not mean to upset people in the procession. It was a busy intersection with many cars, the weather was wet/snowy so all vehicles had their lights on (not just the procession vehicles), none of the vehicles had a flag or banner, and I did not see the lead procession vehicle. When the light turned green, I proceeded through the intersection, not realizing I was breaking the line. After a procession line vehicle sped past me almost causing an accident, I realized what was going on and pulled over. Please do not shoot arrows at everyone who breaks the line…in some situations it just might not be that obvious what is happening. But, still, I feel badly and apologize. Your grief is enough to deal with and you don’t need someone getting in your way.

Lol Funeral July 14, 2008, 5:38 pm

Lol, Funeral processions don’t deserve right of way.

Chris November 15, 2008, 6:59 pm

So i live in Texas, and can’t find any laws on funeral procession’s, but get this, I was assaulted today by a procession lol.

I was coming from colleg getting on the interstate, there was a diesel behind me flooring it, and a bunch of campers in the slow lane, so i got into the fast lane, noticed all the flashing lights, but figured who takes that many campers to a funeral? so i thought it was just a group of happy campers trying to stick together in the SLOW lane, to top it off, I couldn’t see the lead police car. The diesel wasn’t letting off so I kept driving in the fast lane, about half way through i realized it was a funeral, and about that time one of the cars in the procession cut me off and tried to knock my car into the divider, with a diesel behind me and someone on my right trying to kill me i sped up to pass him, then another one cut out and hit his brakes, ON THE INTERSTATE, going like 70, i had no choice but slide my car right into the line of the procession, and then they boxed me in and made me take the same exit as them, at the exit they all forced me to drive into the ditch, and then jumped out of there vehicles and started trying to pull me out of my car lol. I understood they were grieving so i just locked the door, smiled and waved, and waited till they gave up and got back in there cars, i called the police and they said, i had no reason to pull over on the interstate even if i knew from the start that it was a funeral. pulling over on the interstate or even going slow for that matter is dangerous and against the law.

Respect is one thing, and being pissed off that someone failed to respect you is one thing, but trying to kill someone so that they will be the one escorted in a hearse next time, is another. I’m sorry but they disrespected themselves.

rw January 24, 2009, 11:20 pm

I live in Tx and was just minding my business driving home whenI noticed some flashing lights on the opposite lanes. I then noticed cars on my side pulling over. This was a 60 MPH busy four lane road and the police escort was making everyone even opposite side traffic pull over. I can understand the side that the funeral procession is driving on but why the opposite side traffic also? I could not find any TX state law that addresses funeral processions.

Tracey June 23, 2009, 4:51 pm

This is a burning issue for me. Two days ago, I pulled over to the side of the road to give respect to a passin procession. So many people failed to do so. It burns me to see this. Be respectful people!
As to the lights on the funeral coach ro lead car and/or flags. Here in Texas the past few funerals I have attended did not give out little flags for a car, but that is an awesome idea. As for passing through intersections and red lights, we usually have several policemen escorting and always block these for the drivers in the procession.
While funeral vehicles cannot use red or blue lights (those are only for emergency vehicles) purple lights should be adopted for the lead car as purple is not used for anything here in the U.S. Purple though may be hard to spot. I feel there should also be a funeral car at the end of the procession with some type of marker to let other drivers not involved know the procession has ended.
I am saddened to see more and more people though not pulling over out of respect for the deceased, family and friends during processions in general anymore.

M August 29, 2009, 9:40 pm

No disrespect intended, but I fail to see why drivers traveling the opposite direction of a funeral procession are expected to pull to the right and stop. To begin with, there is no impedence to the funeral procession, as the other cars are traveling to the right and not blocking the procession. Secondly, this is not an emergency situation, where some vehicle may need to use the center lane.

jlc July 1, 2012, 12:44 pm

if it not a law to yeild right of way to a funneral in texas then don’t expect me too. By the way it against the law in AMERICA to press your religious standards on others! so if you don’t like it, move!

Ryan July 2, 2012, 8:35 am

Wow. You’re kind of an ass, no?

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