Second Opinion: Funeral procession right-of-way

second opinionQuestion: What is the protocol for following a funeral procession? Are you allowed to pass if you don’t know the deceased?

DCA: The boring, technical bits of the Alaska State statutes say, “no driver of a vehicle may drive between or position his vehicle between any vehicles comprising a funeral or other authorized procession while they are in motion.” I’m reading this as, “you can’t just jump into a funeral procession like it’s a game of Double Dutch.”  The statute goes on to say that funeral processions should stick to the right hand side of the road and that if they’re bigger than 200 people or 50 cars they have to get a permit. They also call it a parade if it’s that big, which seems a bit… well, weird to me. But whatevs State of Alaska, if that’s what you think a parade is it’s no wonder we don’t have many parades. Some more ridiculous facts for you: you can have a procession/bummer parade as big as you want without a permit as long as you’re a city, state or government official.

I’m not sure what Miss Manners would have to say about passing a funeral procession but it sounds like the State of Alaska seems to think it’s all right as long as you’re not trying to hop in the middle of it. However, I’m going to make an official Second Opinion executive decision here and say that unless your head is on fire, there’s no harm slowing your roll and letting the grieving make their way. I don’t think anyone is going to argue with you if you show up a few minutes late somewhere and explain that you were stuck behind a funeral procession. And if they do, they’re clearly heartless bastards.

CB: Almighty Google, which clearly trumps the State of Alaska because, dude, it’s Google, says you shouldn’t pass a procession on a two lane road. My search didn’t say anything about highways like the Glenn, but basically, the procession is gonna trump whatever you’ve got going on, so put on some good tunes and relax. DCA pretty much covered the legalities of it, but I’m riding a high from a good workout followed by a fancy English beer, so I’m not as snarky as I normally am. I’ll say this though — death is the one thing we all truly have in common, and coming across something as somber as a funeral procession should be a reminder that life is fleeting, and in today’s age we are all rushing. So, you know, slow down. Enjoy the scenery. Maybe think about how awesome so many things are, especially in Alaska. We have giant mountains, we have wildlife all over (keep your eyes on the road, they really are all over the place), and we have some of the best local music and breweries in the country. Life is good. Death is inevitable. Slow down and enjoy the ride.

Also, unless it is dark I think you’re supposed to turn your lights off, too.

Final determination: Don’t pass. Be courteous.

Daniella Cortez

About Daniella Cortez

Entertainment editor and your gal about town. Doing my best to bring you the highs and lows of Anchorage's arts and entertainment scene.

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