We've all encountered that long funeral procession. You typically see such when you're in a hurry. Despite such, most of us pull to the side of the road and politely show our respect by waiting for those mourning the death of their loved one to pass.
However, do you really know the North Carolina laws regarding funeral processions? I'll admit that I did not realize a few specifics until recently.
- Does a driver passing the opposite direction have to yield to the funeral procession?
No. According to the N.C. Driver's Handbook, a driver passing the opposite direction may yield to the funeral procession. If the driver chooses to yield, he should do so by reducing speed / stopping off the road to allow the funeral procession to pass without having to leave it's lane of travel. As a life-long resident of Charlotte, I highly suspect this comes a quite a surprise to many local residents.
- Does a driver passing the same direction have to yield to the funeral procession?
It depends. According to the N.C. Driver's Handbook, a driver shall not pass a funeral procession in the same direction of travel, except that a driver may pass when the highway has been marked for two or more lanes of travel in that direction. Again, I suspect many local motorists believe it is illegal to pass a funeral procession regardless of the number of lanes.
- Should you interrupt a funeral procession if you encounter a green light?
No. According the the N.C. Driver's Handbook, you should not cross the path of a funeral procession despite having a green light in your favor if you're going to interrupt the procession.
- What rules apply to the funeral procession?
All vehicles in the procession should operate their headlights and hazard lights. The lead vehicle should obey all traffic devices, unless directed by authorities or funeral personnel. Once the lead vehicle crosses an intersection as directed, the rest of the vehicles in the procession may proceed through the intersection utilizing extra care and remaining as close as possible to the vehicle ahead.
It is important to understand these rules to ensure the safety of your family and other motorists. Are some of these lesser-known rules a surprise to you?