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Est. 2004

Overtaking hearses

I live near City of London Crematorium and frequently encounter funeral cortèges. I just wondered what the general protocol is, would you overtake a hearse or just tuck in respectfully behind. It crossed my mind to ask this whilst overtaking one earlier.

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My personal opinion is that if the family can clearly be seen in the cars/vehicles travelling behind the hearse marked usually with ribbon or stickers now days. You should respect that the family are travelling with that loved one on there last journey. Don’t break that chain. Once they are out of the way it is done. A little patience in these situations means a lot to people normally.



Yer I’m with John here.

I have always been respectful here, unfortunately there are still twats who will go round.

I have on rare occasion if they are travelling slow in held in traffic gone past but slow like I would a horse again out of respect.

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I agree there. If they are stopped at lights or in solid traffic…by all means give them a wide enough pass and get in front.

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If the hearse is in lane one where there are two or more lanes (in the same direction) overtake with respect.


If on a motorway ride very slowly past and give the deceased a respectful nod.


There was a time no one would break a cortège for any reason, if the lights turned after the hearse had passed through the rest of the cortège would follow and the traffic on the other directions would wait patiently.

I don’t think that’s the case any more and a cortège will expect to be separated by red lights and roundabouts. So I think the old ways of never overtaking a hearse are probably more flexible these days. As people say above, just do it with respect, judge each situation on its merits.

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I don’t think the dead person would be care if they were overtaken.


Normally I’d hang back. If it was super urgent, passing with care I guess, but that would have to be pretty urgent tbh.

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As a Priest, I tend to hold back and only overtake if traffic is stationary and give a nod when passing a hearse. I prefer to just bide my time and give them space.


I thought of this thread the other day.

I was approaching a zebra crossing. A hearse and cortège were approaching from the opposite direction. A pedestrian went to step onto the crossing in front of the hearse. The hearse’s driver, in compliance with the rules of the road, stopped to allow the pedestrian to cross.

The pedestrian at this point realised it was a cortège and stopped. The hearse remained stopped. The pedestrian nodded the hearse through.

Meanwhile I’m stopped on the other direction, no central refuge so I’m obliged to stop for the pedestrian. I’m trying to maintain slow-control and stay balanced while this is going on.

Eventually the pedestrian stepped back so there was no doubt and the procession drove through.

On a biking holiday in Ireland with a mate many years ago we were travelling east back from Galway across country. Seemingly out of nowhere we came up behind a line of cars going quite slowly, we couldn’t see ahead very far as it was a windy road. So we set off overtaking several at a time, pulling in, overtaking again - there must have been 30 or 40 cars. Finally on the last bunch as we pull out to overtake we saw… The Hearse… There wasn’t much we could do so we passed very slowly and saluted our of respect…