With funeral processions, there's a fine line between respect and safety.
"Jeff" of Harbor Town in Downtown Memphis sent me this e-mail:
"I seem to recall from somewhere in the past where funeral processions were prohibited from traveling on the expressways when going to and from a cemetery for a burial. What is the rule on that, and what is the general rule on the "right of way" when they are traveling through Memphis?"
Julie Oaks, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, says funeral processions are allowed on the interstate as long as they are identified by flashing amber lights on a lead vehicle and proceed at a minimum of 45 miles an hour.
She says funeral processions ALWAYS have the right-of-way, no matter what road they ride.
Here's some guidance on what to do when you're in traffic with them:
* On TWO-LANE HIGHWAYS, DO NOT PASS AND DO NOT PULL OVER. You can only pass if it's a legitimate emergency. Passing a funeral procession on a two-lane highway is not only disrespectful, but it is also illegal. The violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine in Tennessee.
Pulling over just creates a safety hazard. I know you might want to be respectful, but you can do that simply by not passing the procession.
* On INTERSTATES AND HIGHWAYS MORE THAN TWO LANES, PASS BUT DON'T PULL OVER. Obviously, you can't have six lanes of 45 mile-an-hour traffic. You also shouldn't be pulling over on the interstate unless, of course, it's an emergency -- and it's the emergency lane!