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At sometime during someone’s training they are likely to come across a funeral cortège.

Would you overtake a hearse?

When this question comes up the normal answer is - No Never. Its disrespectful.

I then paint a picture and begin to get a few different replies.

There are some unwritten rules, so let's take a moment to look at this and other details.

The cortège is made up of at least one hearse and additional limousines; these are easily identified, as the lead vehicle is carrying the deceased. Some funerals have a horse-drawn hearse. Other guests may be following in their own vehicles.

I look for obvious signs that they are following the hearse. Markers in windows, headlights on/hazard lights, black flags, clothing etc.

When the hearse leaves, the funeral director often walks in front of the car as a sign of respect, this also gives following vehicles a chance to position with the cortège, the drivers can identify who is following.

It goes without saying, try not to break up the cortège.

If you can see the cortège trying to turn or enter a junction try to give way so the funeral cars can stay together and continue their journey. 

Turn down any loud music/radio.

Don't honk your horn aggressively.

Don't rev your engine or do anything that will annoy those attending the service. 

So should you overtake? Well, the answer is probably no, yet sometimes yes. 

You can show respect and by overtaking it does not mean you are being disrespectful. Its all in the way you execute the manourvre. Its also about when and where.

It’s unlikely that around town and taking into account the points above along with following the rules of the Highway Code an overtake would just not be safe. We also want to show respect to a life once lived. 

If you know the funeral cortège has some distance to travel and you are on a dual-carriageway for example then an overtake would be a reasonable measure to take. 

I would suggest overtaking at low speed until you are clear of the hearse. 


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