When a viewing or visitation will be followed by a grave side service or burial service at the cemetery a funeral procession is normally used to get the deceased, and the Funeral Directors, as well as the family members to the cemetery for the service. The funeral procession is normally composed of a lead car, one hearse, and any number of limousines and followed by a large or small number of family member’s vehicles.
The lead car is normally a regular size vehicle owned by the funeral home. In some cases it might be equipped with white lights that slightly resemble a police cars lights. This car is used at the very beginning of the funeral procession to alert other drivers to the fact that there will be a large number of vehicles following closely behind this one. The lead car sets the pace and leads the way for everyone else to follow. The car in front normally drives slowly, considerably slower than the speed limit to ensure all of the vehicles that are following it will not get lost. In famous funerals that we have all seen on television the lead car is normally a police or firefighters vehicle. During a funeral for an average individual, a police escort is not normally available so the lead car takes on that role. Police escort is normally reserved for funerals of police officers, firefighters, or soldiers. If your funeral procession is lead by a car with flashing lights, this does not give you the right to go through stop signs or red lights. All other road rules still apply. If the lead car gets too far ahead of the procession the driver will normally stop and wait for the procession to catch up.
The second car in the procession is normally the hearse. The hearse is ordinarily driven by the same Funeral Director that discussed your pre arrangements, and the same one who assisted you all the way through the funeral. The hearse usually contains only the one Funeral Director and the remains of the deceased. In cases where there was immediate cremation, the hearse will contain the ashes of the deceased instead of the casket and body.
The next vehicles in the procession are normally the limousines. There may be any number of limousines. The first limousine normally carries the spouse or parents of the deceased along with the deceased person’s immediate family. The second limousine if there is a second one normally contains the pallbearers.
All other vehicles would be those of the family members and friends of the deceased who are not in one of the other vehicles. The funeral home does normally provide a small flag that is attached to the hood of the cars of the family members that indicates that car is part of the procession. This flag is normally attached using a strong magnet as not to cause damage to the vehicle.
The funeral procession is normally included in the cost of the funeral itself. It is considered to be transportation of the deceased. Transporting the deceased is always done by a professional, including cases where the deceased is transported to the cemetery. Often times the funeral home staff may also pick up the immediate family of the deceased in one of the limousines to bring them to the funeral home for the service and visitation. This is considered to be a courtesy to the family, and will assist them in arriving on time as well as safely. Often loved ones can be too distraught to drive safely on their own. You might consider asking your Funeral director if this type of door to door service is available.