Do I need to stop for a funeral procession?

Posted on August 7, 2014 by J. Chad Pendley under Most Common Questions








This is another great question that we encounter a lot. Funeral processions date back even to the roman days when some of the first funeral processions were recorded. The processions were started as an act of grievance and to allow mourners to take part in the funeral ceremonies with the family. This is still true today but we have adapted more reasons over the years.

The answer in short is “Yes”, but when it is only safe to do so. Stopping or hindering a procession is against the law and it is very unsafe. In the south we see more of the community that will still pull over and stop and families from more northern states have commented to us that this is something that they don’t see very often. So in continuing our “Southern Traditions” we make sure that our cars and the route we take will allow for you to stop and pay honor without bringing much risk to you and your passengers.

Safely stopping for a procession means to actually move out of the way of the funeral procession and if possible clearing your lane that you are in. Just because you are attentive to your surroundings does not mean that the person traveling behind you is. So if you are going to stop and it is safe try to pull off on the shoulder of the road where as the person behind you, if not paying attention, can pass without causing you harm. If you come to a procession on a split highway with a median then it is still ok to stop, but stopping in the left hand lane will most likely cause an accident so again pull over as far right as you can.

Most of our funeral processions happen here in Cobb County and Sheriff Neil Warren and all the deputies of Cobb County make sure that our processions go as safely as possible. This is a service that is unmatched and quite frankly is becoming rare to see in outside counties, but our Cobb County Hero’s believe in providing the deceased with the utmost respect and dignity and that is why they provide this service.

I can assure you that your small act of stopping for a procession does not go unnoticed. There is so much honor and pride for a family riding behind the hearse of their loved one and seeing people paying their last respect and honoring that person with this act of pulling over and stopping. This serves as a proud and tearful experience for a family and it is heartwarming to see people take a minute or two out of their day to support their community who are grieving.

With all of this being said, please be safe when encountering a funeral procession and we will do our best to keep this “Southern Tradition” going as long as we can safely do so!

Chad is a licensed professional and is a native of Cobb County, growing up in Powder Springs and currently living in Marietta Ga. After graduating from McEachern High School Chad attended Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service and graduated as a Master Artist of the Pi Sigma Eta Honorary Mortician Fraternity. He was the recipient of the Bill Pierce award and Daniel E. Buchanan award, recognizing him as a leader in the funeral profession. A member of the Marietta Metro Rotary and different organizations in his profession, Chad also participates in monthly activities promoting the funeral home and networking with other professionals in the area. He is a member and attends Westridge Church in Dallas Ga. He is married to Kristin and as a proud father, Chad enjoys the time he gets to spend with his family. Chad is an avid hunter and a true outdoors man. He has a gift of developing a warm, helpful, and strong relationship with the families he serves and is a valuable source of knowledge at Mayes Ward-Dobbins.

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2 thoughts on “Do I need to stop for a funeral procession?

  1. Chad, I so enjoyed your recent article on funeral etiquette for cars approaching a funeral processional. I will never forget how all the cars stopped all the way from our Methodist Church to Westview Cemetery in Cedartown, and how very, very, much it meant to my mother, George and me.Thank you for reminding us all of how kind this tradition is!

  2. Anne Powell says:

    It does mean so much to those of us who are a part of the funeral procession to see the respect others have for our loved one and in turn for us as their family members and close friends. Seeing the stopped vehicles have brought tears to my eyes many times. I still stop for funeral processions as I drive because I know what it means to the families and friends who are grieving. It’s still the correct thing to do. Thank you!!!

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