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Rules of a Funeral Procession

Published: February 15, 2023

Funeral processions provide a way for family and friends to honor loved ones by following the deceased to their final resting place. They are a time-honored tradition that dates back centuries. The funeral director can advise you of the specific procedures and traffic laws to follow. 

While the Illinois General Assembly provides the exact regulations regarding funeral processions in Illinois, here are some general guidelines that should be followed to ensure safety and respect for the deceased:

Follow the lead car: The lead car is usually a hearse or a funeral car that is designated to lead the procession. Follow this car closely and maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Turn on your headlights and hazard lights: All cars in the funeral procession should turn on their headlights and hazard lights to signal to other drivers that they are part of the procession. This will also help to increase visibility and prevent accidents.

Stay in the right lane: Funeral processions typically travel in the right lane of the road. This is to allow other drivers to pass on the left if they need to. It’s key to stay in the right lane and not switch lanes during the procession.

Don't pass other cars in the procession: It’s important to maintain a single-file line during the procession. Don’t try to pass other cars in the procession, even if it’s to catch up to the lead car. Wait until the procession is over to continue driving as usual.

Obey traffic laws: While funeral processions have the right of way at intersections, you must obey all traffic laws during the procession. Stop at red lights and stop signs and yield to pedestrians and other drivers when necessary.

Don't honk or use loud music: To maintain a respectful and somber atmosphere during the funeral procession, don’t honk your horn or play loud music. This can be disruptive and disrespectful to the deceased and their family.

Keep a safe distance: Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you during the procession. This will allow for sudden stops or turns and prevent accidents from occurring. It’s essential to pay attention to the car in front of you and anticipate any changes in direction or speed.

Don’t join the procession unless invited: Funeral processions are typically reserved for family and close friends of the deceased. If you're not sure whether you’re allowed to join the procession, it’s best to ask the family or funeral director beforehand.

Don't take photos or videos: In order to respect the privacy of the funeral procession and the family of the deceased, don’t take photos or videos during the procession. This can be seen as disrespectful and inappropriate.

In summary, funeral processions are a time-honored tradition that should be respected and followed. It’s important to maintain a somber and respectful atmosphere, obey traffic laws, and follow the lead car closely. If you’re not sure about the rules of the procession, it’s best ask the family or funeral director for guidance. By following these rules, you can show respect for the deceased and their family during this difficult time.

Thanks for reading our blog. You can reach out to us, Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory anytime at 1-309-786-5421 or find us online at