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Funeral Processions: Traffic Laws and Etiquette in New Hampshire

At Phaneuf Funeral Homes, we receive a lot of questions regarding funeral procession etiquette and the New Hampshire State laws governing funeral processions. This is a summary of the New Hampshire Safety Reminder for Funeral Procession Right-of-Way and Funeral Lead Vehicles which is current as of October 26, 2007.

Lead Vehicles
The operator of a lead funeral vehicle has the responsibility of proceeding with due caution, and also the right of way with other vehicles. The lead vehicle also has the responsibility to comply with all stop signs and other traffic control signals. At all times, the lead funeral vehicle must display a purple flashing or emergency light during the procession.

Vehicles in the Funeral Procession
Once the lead vehicle has crossed the intersection, whether turning or going straight through, all other vehicles in the procession have the right-of-way, which allows them to follow the preceding vehicle in the procession (as closely as is practical and safe) without stopping, regardless of signs or signals they may encounter. Each vehicle of the procession must be marked with either funeral flags or signs on the windshield, as well as headlights, taillights, and hazard lights if they are present on the vehicle. Under all circumstances, vehicles in the funeral procession must exercise caution to other vehicles.

Vehicles not Part of the Funeral Procession
Drivers not part of the funeral process shall not drive between the vehicles forming the procession while it is in motion, except when directed by a police officer or if the vehicle is an emergency vehicle giving an audible or visible signal. Vehicle operators that are not part of a funeral procession are expressly prohibited from joining the funeral process to gain right of way.

Vehicles may not attempt to pass vehicles in a funeral procession on a 2-lane roadway. When a funeral procession proceeds through a red signal, any driver not part of the procession may not enter the intersection, even if they have a green signal, unless they can enter and exit the intersection without crossing the procession’s path.

Any non-processional vehicle without that joins the procession without the right to do so, or fails to yield to a funeral procession is guilty of a moving violation.

The full Traffic Safety Reminder for the State of New Hampshire can be found here: http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/tsr/tsr102607.html

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