Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

What is the protocol for letting a funeral procession pass? I never know what to do; some cars stop and some don't. Does a procession have the right of way at an intersection? – Eve in Markham, Ont.

It used to be that everyone on the road would stop or pull over and allow a funeral procession (also known as a cortege) to pass in a continuous line.

In some areas of the United States, motorists in a funeral procession have the right of way, but in Canada, for the most part, the rules of the road prevail.

Story continues below advertisement

"There are different situations in different provinces, but the overall rule is you really don't get special privileges," says Suzanne Scott, executive director of the Funeral Service Association of Canada. "There are situations where there will be police involved that will help a procession stay together, but generally on the roads in Canada for funerals you have to follow all the same rules.

"So, if you're in a procession and you come upon a red light, you must stop, just like always. In fact, there have been cases where cars have gone through red lights and there's been a red light camera and they will get a ticket. You may even see a policeman sitting there just to make sure everybody is safe and sound and gets to where they need to go, but it doesn't mean you get to ignore the rules of the road," says Scott.

For state funerals or the repatriation of veterans, the traffic flow may be regulated by police, but generally a funeral procession is driver-beware.

"It used to be that funeral processions would get police escorts; we're not doing that with the OPP any more," says Constable Linda Wolf with the Ontario Provincial Police. "Sometimes they'll hire a private security company with the flashing purple lights that are sometimes seen on funeral escort vehicles. But they don't have the authority to go through a red light.

"What it comes down to is that the motoring public should give a little respect and courtesy to a passing funeral, but beyond that they're not obligated to pull over or to stop if they have the green light," says Wolf.

As you've noticed, a procession can cause confusion on the road, especially at an intersection. "The best bet and the safest suggestion for all would be to follow the traffic signal as you would at any other time. If you don't, it gets into a situation where one person will stop, but if it's a two-lane highway or roadway, someone else may not stop and it could become a serious situation," says Wolf.

Funeral directors often hand out maps or give directions, and advise those travelling to the cemetery to turn on their four-way flashers or hazard lights. Vehicles at the front are typically marked with flags or flashing purple lights. Many funeral directors also advise mourners that they should meet at the cemetery, rather than attempt to travel in procession.

Story continues below advertisement

"I would hope that etiquette would still be that you pull over and try and let them go by together. I know I do, and I see lots of people who do, but that's not always the case. You can't expect it any more unfortunately, especially in urban settings," says Scott.

When safe to do so, it's courteous and respectful to allow mourners to proceed uninterrupted, just remember: the rules of the road still apply.

Send your automotive questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies