ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Pulling up to a funeral procession could set you back anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours (if your horse and carriage happened to stumble upon the procession for Abraham Lincoln, for example).
So, what if you really have to get to Susie’s soccer game and find yourself facing off with a seemingly-endless line of mourners? You want to be respectful, but you simply cannot be late, do you HAVE to wait it out?
In Illinois, the answer, for the most part, is yes. According to section 11-1420 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, funeral processions have the right of way at intersections as long as the lead car follows traffic rules.
The rule specifically states that all vehicles following the lead car may proceed “without stopping, regardless of the sign or signal.” If the procession lead beats you to a four-way stop, you’re out of luck. The rest of the procession has the right of way and may follow the lead vehicle without stopping while you miss out on Susie’s first goal. At least you have a good excuse?
There’s better news if you pull up behind a procession. The vehicle code states you may overtake and pass the procession, as long as you do so “without causing a traffic hazard or interfering with such procession.”
Procession vehicles must have their headlights and hazard lights on to earn the right of way, so unlit cars are technically fair game. Regardless, you’re probably safer waiting it out, as yielding to a funeral procession is a gesture of respect and empathy for those mourning the loss of a loved one.