A survey from a funeral vehicle coachbuilder has found that 91 per cent of the public don’t know what to do when encountering a funeral procession.
The study, conducted by Wilcox Limousines, questioned 198 funeral directors about trends and unusual occurrences that had been uncovered during the course of their work within the funeral industry. As part of this, the survey asked “Do you think people know what’s expected of them when they encounter a funeral procession?” to which 71% said ‘not fully’. A further 20% simply said ‘no’, which equalled 91% being unsure of what to do. When questioned about their own experience, 59% of the funeral directors polled said ‘no’ when asked if they felt people had good funeral cortege etiquette.
Paul Wilcox, of Wilcox Limousines, said: “Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon today for people to have next to no idea about the proper etiquette that’s required when passing a funeral procession. I think this is probably a generational thing. There seems to have been a significant shift over the years away from people being educated on the rules of funeral etiquette. In previous years, etiquette was much more prevalent, but it seems that today, the knowledge is slipping away.”
In response to the findings, the team at Wilcox Limousines has provided an “etiquette guide” as to how to people should behave when they encounter a funeral procession, which includes:
1) It is important to make sure that you grant a funeral procession right of way when driving.
2) All funeral corteges move at a slow pace. Never overtake or cut into a procession.
3) Wait until all the vehicles in the procession have moved on before using a pelican crossing – this way you won’t break or disrupt the cortege.
4) It is considered respectful to turn any in-car music off as a cortege passes.
5) If you happen to be conducting work roadside, try bringing all work to a temporary halt as the procession passes.
Paul Wilcox continued: “In the fast paced world that we live in, people tend to be in a great hurry to get to where they need to be. And whilst funeral directors can certainly appreciate this, does it hurt to slow down for a few minutes out of respect for a life once lived? The only certainty in life is death and it’s something that will happen to all of us and indeed, to family and friends.
“Put yourself in the shoes of a grieving family. Would you like a beeping car horn or an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre to interrupt your mourning if you were in their place? We hope that these pointers will help inform people as to how to be respectful when they encounter a funeral cortege in the future.”