Do drivers in SC legally have to stop for funeral processions? Here’s what state law says

Have you ever been stuck in frozen South Carolina traffic, only to learn later everyone stopped because of a funeral procession passing the other way?

It’s long been a tradition in the Palmetto State and much of the Southeast for traffic to yield to funeral processions on the road. It’s generally considered the respectful thing to do.

But are drivers legally required to do that in South Carolina?

SC funeral procession law

Turns out that in general, there is no legal requirement to pull over for a funeral procession in South Carolina, according to David Blackwell Law in Lancaster. The South Carolina Code of Laws makes no mention of drivers being required to stop for funeral processions.

Still, there are times when motorists will be required to stop for law enforcement involved in funeral processions. Often, local police or sheriff’s departments will direct traffic outside of a funeral home or at an intersection to prevent accidents as the motorcade leaves. South Carolina drivers must still obey any traffic directions from any law enforcement officers who are present.

SC motorcade law

Under Section 56-5-1930 of state law, motorcades must allow enough space between vehicles to let another vehicle in between them if necessary. However, this law specifically exempts funeral processions, meaning such motorcades can travel close enough together to keep other vehicles out.

Funeral procession safety tips

If you do encounter a funeral procession on the road, here are a few tips to follow to ensure the safety of yourself and others, according to Funeralwise.

  • The custom of stopping for funeral processions has been ongoing for so long, that it’s better and safer on your part to not break tradition. Go ahead and yield. Even if the procession is moving through a red light and your light is green, just continue to yield until the motorcade has passed.

  • Look for the last vehicle in the procession. It typically will have two or more flags on it and will be flashing hazard lights. Once that car has passed, you can resume the normal flow of traffic.

  • Don’t cut into or cut off a procession.

  • Don’t honk your horn at a car in a funeral procession.

  • Don’t pass a funeral procession on the right side on a highway unless the procession is in the far left lane.