What's polite and what's the law?

We've all seen funeral processions making their way across town and have probably been a part of one ourselves, unfortunately. I had the recent misfortune of attending a funeral and I was surprised at just how many cars were confused by our procession as we mad our way to the cemetery.

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So many cars were coming to a complete stop. That's not necessary, is it?

The rules are pretty cut and dry when it comes to things like emergency vehicles and school busses, but are Michigan drivers legally required to stop for funeral processions?

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Right of Way and Funerals

It's actually a civil infraction in Michigan to cut through a funeral procession. According to Michigan vehicle code it's not only respectful to give to funeral processions the right of way-- it's the law!

According to Michigan law funeral processions actually have the right of way over all other vehicles, except emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks notwithstanding of course.

Michigan vehicle code MCL 257.654 officially reads:

A motor vehicle forming part of a funeral procession, when going to a place of burial, shall have the right of way over all other vehicles except fire apparatus, ambulances, and police patrol vehicles at a street or highway intersection within this state

Mourners must display an orange flag on their vehicle with a religious symbol-- whether that be a cross, Star of David, or crescent moon and star-- and shall not have any other logos or words other than "Funeral" displayed.

But, Are Drivers Required to Pull Over?

NO. While you're required to let funeral processions have the right of way through an intersection Michigan law says nothing about pulling off to the side of the road. In fact, the State of Michigan advises that,

Drivers should be appropriately respectful of funeral processions but they are not required to pull over should they see a funeral procession on the road.

An unfortunate fact of life is, death. Whether you happen to encounter a funeral procession on the road or you're part of one yourself, now you know what Michigan law requires of you.

Please, tell your friends!

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Gallery Credit: Lauren Gordon

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