First Post: Funeral Processions In South: Am I Only One Who Keeps On Moving?

This is my first post. I’m trying this place out coming from another place (ahem, CData) which, to me, is way too heavy-handed with the level of moderation. I like to debate the issues passionately, not looking to be ugly to anyone personally, but I like to debate the issues passionately and with sometimes colorful phrases and comparisons. Hopefully I’m OK here.

Anyway, my topic today: funeral processions, and that (silly to me) southern tradition of pulling over when you see one out of “respect.” Simply put, I don’t, because to me the roads are all about getting where you’re going PERIOD and it strikes me as silly that I should be compelled to pull over out of “respect” for someone I didn’t know from Steve, and again right in the middle of my commute to work etc. I can always just go to the funeral itself or visit the home of the family if I’m feeling like being reverential and offering condolences etc. If others want to pull over, that’s fine, but give me room to head on down the road and don’t act like I’m Kim Jong Ill or whoever for not honoring the tradition.

No, I don’t “cut in” on the line or such of a procession which is already there, but if the procession isn’t “upon me” yet but I see it coming, I get on out of there with all the urgency of a bomb threat. I don’t want to get tangled up in the mess. I high tail it out of there while others, if they’ve noticed it, are pulling over and I assume looking at me thinking I’m the biggest scab in the world.

I first saw this in NC, where I was born and raised, and I didn’t care for it then. I now live in TX and don’t care for it here either. My argument has always been this–first, such reverence is supposed to be voluntary, not compulsory, either in the form of guilt-tripping or even deliberately blocking someone to MAKE them not leave. Just like it would be wrong for someone to snatch your money from you and put it in the pot at the Salvation Army during Christmas when you declined a donation or to guilt-trip you into giving, the same goes here.

Second, what sense does it make if I didn’t know the person? Someone dies everyday in most decent-sized cities. Am I supposed to pull over for all of them? Wouldn’t that cause it to lose its meaning after awhile? I’m sorry, but life goes on.

Third, as I earlier said, if one is looking to be “reverential,” to me it would be far more meaningful of an act to actually attend the funeral where they can see your face, feel your touch, and hear your voice vs just seeing a car pulled over. Or one could stop by the home of the family and offer their sympathies. Wouldn’t either one be far more meaningful?

As for the usual reply of “how self-centered” or “you can’t spare 5 minutes?” First, I think if any view is self-centered, it’s the one that says someone else’s grief means the whole entire area around you has to stop whether it’s really meaningful or not, with no regards to their time. Second, my time is MY TIME, and like many others my time is very valuable. 5 minutes on the road seems like an eternity when you’re in a hurry, and some processions are known to eat up much more time than that.

When I say to people that this is how I feel, they act like I just insulted Kate Middleton in Buckingham Palace. To me it’s perfectly logical thinking. It doesn’t mean I have no compassion, I’m one who would be very likely to stop by the family’s house or such and offer sympathy etc–I’m just not interested in doing it on the road.


It isn’t just southern. I lived my first 35 years in the Midwest, and it’s done there, too.

Respect for a funeral procession doesn’t mean you’re revering the dead guy.

istm, you are a little hepped up on being a rebel. No one would give a shit if you just got out of the way by speeding up or taking a side street instead of pulling over out of “respect”. People are probably giving you attitude because you want to make a big show and argument about how stupid you think this solemn tradition is.

I don’t know if I’m “hebbed up on being a rebel.” I think maybe it’s the case that when the topic comes up and I state my opinion on the matter (typically someone will say how they were late due to a funeral procession), I’m eager to state my opinion since the topic is somewhat “live” at that point and I feel pretty strongly about it the way I do. Typically they look at me like I have 4 heads when I tell them I keep on going.

Lots of things that constitute the lubricants and buffers of civilized society don’t “make sense.” Pulling over for a funeral procession takes five minutes out of your day. Why so worked up?

To paraphrase their reply above, they enjoy the attention of having the chance to air their opinion in front of others. Not that they’re looking for debate or input, only attention is welcome.

Actually, in here, I’m all for debating the issue. I don’t figure on getting a lot of “atta boys,” and I figure many will dislike it. That doesn’t derive me any pleasure. I just like a good “round table” discussion, that’s all.

It is because, on the road, 5 minutes seems like an absolute eternity even if I’m not pressed for time, and that goes double or even quadruple if I am pressed for time. Maybe that’s irrational, but that’s how it feels to me. Relaxing at home for 5 minutes may not feel that way, but 5 minutes on the road most certainly does.

Also, it’s the somewhat compulsory nature of it. It’s MY 5 minutes to do with as I please, in my view. It’s not someone else’s place to tell me I HAVE to spend it that way or else I’m a scab. One person even said they’d be inclined to block me in to FORCE me into it. That’s extremely disrespectful and in some places and with some people (not me) could cause you to become a statistic, and I’ve got to say when such happens I don’t much feel sorry for them and even tend to think they got what they deserved.

I’m not a patient person, I admit it and I don’t necessarily think that the solution is for me to learn patience, but rather that things which are slow need to be sped up. Some of it can’t be helped, and when that’s the case, such is a “that’s life” moment. Other times it can be helped. The person in the checkout line holding the line up while they argue over 5 cents (is “going off-topic” a little OK here, it won’t cause me to get smacked on the hand with a ruler the way that “North Korea” board is like?) they need to be told “would you mind, I don’t have all day here” and in fact I’ve seen it done and applauded or went “right on!” when they did. Other times I saw someone ask “how much is the difference” and then pay it, and once the perpetrator was gone they made it clear that they did it to basically “pay off the person” so they could get on with their lives.

That’s me, I don’t like “tolerating” problems, I like fixing them. I call it the “air conditioner” mentality, meaning that years ago during the hot months you had no escape from it, you simply had to learn how to cope with the heat. Now you turn on the air conditioner to make the heat go away in your home or car, there’s no more having to “learn to live with it” as it were. I like it to be that way with EVERYTHING.

The “fix” here–if someone wants to keep on going, so be it, no guilt-tripping them and certainly no trying to box them in. Even more so, if the processions themselves cause 15-30 minute traffic jams, maybe they should be done away with altogether.

I grew up in the south but no longer live there. This isn’t a tradition where I live now. When I went back south for my granny’s funeral, I remember being really touched by this tradition. To me, those people pulling over said to me, “We’re sorry you lost someone you loved, and as part of your community, we want you to know we share that with you.” I wouldn’t get angry if I saw someone speed by, it would just make me feel a bit sad. I like those small acts of kindness and think they contribute to making people feel more connected to each other, which is a good thing.

How often is this a problem for you? I ask because personally I can’t actually recall ever seeing a full motorcade-style funeral procession on the road (occasionally I’ve seen a hearse by itself). I guess I don’t drive around enough cemeteries or something. But even if I did I can’t imagine it being more than a relatively once-in-a-while thing to cross paths with one in progress.

The way it *seems *to you and the way it *feels *to you are not the way it is.

I came to say that, and now I’ve lost interest in this topic.

There is some danger involved. A few years ago a local police officer was killed while escorting a funeral procession. Many local officers felt that escorting funeral processions was too risky.

Well I live in the South and the police usually escort the procession so I pull over, but even if the police weren’t there, I think I can take the minute or two out of my day to stop being self centered and let them pass.

Speaking of dangerous, When my grandfather died we had motorcycle cops escort the funeral procession. My Uncle was driving and lost consciousness, from the stress of his father dying or what I don’t know, he was lucky he didn’t have ANY drugs or alcohol in his system, he ran over the motorcycle cop when he was stopped at the cemetery and I’ll never forget the blood curdling scream that came out of the cop’s mouth right before the car hit him dead on, I saw him flip through the air multiple times and come crashing down. I’m so glad the guy survived but he was messed up for a long time multiple bones just shattered to pulp, my Uncle visited the guy in the hospital as much as he could and the guy’s family and tried to make up for it, but he carried guilt over if for years.

In California, a funeral procession has the right of way, granted by law. It’s not a courtesy.

If I came across a funeral procession on the freeway, I’d ignore it unless it’s between me and my exit, in which case, I’d simply drop back behind the motorcade before moving over to exit as cutting through the procession could easily be construed as interrupting it. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d even need both hands to count the number of times I’ve ever encountered a funeral procession, but I imagine if you live or work near a cemetery or funeral home, you’d encounter them more often.

Give me a moment to pull up Texas law… ah, no such law in Texas, so there’s no obligation to pull over and wait unless directed to do so by a police officer. But, it does seem to be the civil thing to do.

“Having the right-of-way” means that if your intended route crosses the intended route of the funeral procession, you’re the one who has to wait. If going about your business doesn’t interfere, you just keep going as normal.

In some places, people insist on stopping even when there is no right-of-way conflict. Like on a two-lane road, people going one way will jam up the road for a funeral procession going the other way.

What kind of dignitaries are dying in your area daily that it takes 5 minutes for them to pass? Most funerals take about 30 seconds to go by.

It’s not a problem that needs fixing. It’s a social convention that you dislike. You need to recognize that.

in Idaho, the funeral procession has right-of-way by statute, at all intersections. To pull over to the side and wait while they are going the opposite direction is a safety-courtesy for any escort vehicles, usually motorcycle officers as well as a display of respect for the solemnity of the procession. Yes, its traditional, yes you don’t like it, so what? Is your life and your time that cosmically and globally important that you can’t spare a minute or less?
When you have to wait for the procession that is five miles long, then you can complain.

That’s fine if the others participating don’t hinder me going about my business. If they do, then I submit it IS a problem that needs fixing, at least to the extent that those of us who’d rather not bother should have an opt out.

There are degrees of difficulty. I once waited politely for a thirty-car funeral procession to pass before pulling out to follow it, only a couple of minutes later to be forced off the road by a deputy who had somehow lost the cortège with his string of cars and was racing to catch up. The original string had already turned off onto another street. As a matter of courtesy one shouldn’t interfere with a funeral procession, but this, I felt, was out of line.

Unfortunately, the long processions that I can remember all involved officer-in-the-line-of-duty (or fireman) situations. I was happy to pull out of the way/offer up right of way, and felt it was the very least I could do to offer up my respect.

That said, OP, you do you. As long as you aren’t breaking any laws or putting safety at risk while you get the hell outta dodge, go for it. No skin off of my nose if you don’t feel like waiting.