I attended a funeral last week, and one thing I’ve noticed is, with some exceptions, people still pull over for the procession.
In PEI, drivers legally have to slow down for a funeral procession, the only province with this requirement, and many drivers do, but many more go that extra mile and fully stop.
That doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re in that procession and you’re making your way to or from the funeral, or to the cemetery, it really means a lot. This is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life, and to have complete strangers acknowledge this offers a comfort to mourners.
It’s not just drivers that pay their respects. Road crews in Summerside, both in town and where the new roundabout and traffic light are being built, stopped traffic to let the procession go through. Not only that, but most of the crew members working at the time took off their hats and flipped their signs upside down as we passed by.
While a person should slow down for a funeral procession in PEI, there are a few recommendations for what to do and what not to do if a driver happens to come upon one.
First thing, don’t stop in the middle of the road. Yes, the driver wants to let the procession go by with minimal impediment, but stopping in the middle of the road might confuse the driver behind the one who stopped because they weren’t expecting that to happen.
The second thing a person should know is that it’s illegal to pass a funeral procession. Yes, on the highway, a funeral procession will drive slower than the posted speed limit, and yes, it can be really frustrating, but you still can’t pass one. If a driver is really in a hurry, finding an alternate route is probably the best idea, if possible.
Thank you to all drivers who slowed down or pulled over to the side.