What is the proper thing to do when you encounter a funeral procession on the roads of Louisiana? We have some answers for you.

 

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You've probably encountered a funeral procession, which Louisiana law defines as "two or more vehicles accompanying a deceased person or cremated human remains during daylight hours," at some point in your life, whether you were a driver or a passenger.

What to Do When You See a Funeral Procession

The actual Louisiana law states thus:

Except for an authorized emergency or law enforcement vehicle making use of audible or visual signals, or when directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer, pedestrians and operators of all motor vehicles shall yield the right-of-way to each vehicle participating in a funeral procession. However, the operator of a motor vehicle may pass a funeral procession which is traveling in the right lane of a divided highway, multiple-lane highway, or interstate. If the procession has a police escort, whenever the lead vehicle in a funeral procession lawfully enters an intersection, the remainder of the vehicles in the procession may continue to follow through the intersection notwithstanding any signals from traffic control devices.

What that means is when the funeral procession has entered the intersection, whether it's donned with a light or stop sign, the vehicles in the procession have the right of way and don't need to adhere to the regular traffic law of stopping at lights or stop signs. Locally, you'll have an officer with lights and most likely sirens blocking the intersections.

It also adds that, "whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be assessed a penalty of one hundred dollars for each violation."

Do I Have to Pull Over for a Funeral Procession?

Does that mean you have to pull over on the side of the road and wait for the procession to go by? Well, not legally, but you should...for a number of reasons.

The laws regarding funeral processions can be tricky for some. So, in order to ensure that you are following the law, just resort to plain ole respect, it will keep everyone safe and provide some comfort for the grieving family. At the very least, as a show of respect for the deceased and their family and friends, if safe to do so, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and wait for the procession to pass, and then go on about your day.

Earlier this year, a local funeral home had a "challenge" to area residents when they come across a funeral procession.

 

The vast majority in the comments mention that they were taught this as children. Some even had some things to add that they were also taught, like turning the radio down and/or saying a prayer for the deceased and their family and friends.

 

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If you need more wording than just "show respect," here are a few more direct things to follow when encountering a funeral procession from Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services that should make it easier for everyone:

  • Yield the right of way. Just as you would defer to an emergency vehicle, you should do the same for a funeral procession. Even if your light turns green and the procession is still in the intersection, you must wait until it has passed before proceeding.
  • Be respectful. Never honk your horn, yell, rev your engine, or show any other signs of aggression toward the processional.
  • Pull over and allow the procession to go by. If you’re on a secondary road and it is safe to do so, consider moving to the shoulder and letting the procession pass. This isn’t required by law, but it is the courteous thing to do.
  • Never cut in or tag along. The processional is a poignant ceremonial event for those who have lost a loved one. It is extremely rude to interrupt or join a funeral procession for which you are not a participant.
  • Watch for the last vehicle in the procession. This car will be marked with two funeral flags and will have its flashing hazard lights on to indicate to other drivers where the procession ends.

Funeral procession laws vary state by state and sometimes city by city, but if you follow the above laws and suggestions, you'll be just fine, and you'll probably end up feeling better about yourself, as we're all in this world together. As it turns out, it's not just about you, and it costs ZERO DOLLARS to be a decent human being.

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