FUNERAL celebrants are crying out for more respect on Ballarat roads, saying there is an increasing lack of awareness or care for long-standing etiquette.
Reports of conductors being clipped by cars overtaking the cortege, people speeding through intersections to beat a procession or cutting off grieving family in cars following the hearse are becoming commonplace across the region, celebrants say.
Unlike New South Wales, there is no road law against interrupting funeral corteges in Victoria. Road users are encouraged to drive in a respectful manner and avoid interrupting the procession.
FW Barnes and Sons managing director John Mylett and Peter Tobin Funerals' managing director Paula Tobin fear the lack of respect is a growing problem with a busy culture and demand for immediacy, like social media.
They urge people to take a moment and offer some respect for family in a highly emotional moment.
"It's amazing how little people slow down now, or cut in. Everyone seems in such a rush. It's very rare people pause and let you pass," Ms Tobin said. "...Sadly, I think, loved ones are more surprised when someone does stop to let them pass."
Ms Tobin said there was a lovely moment not long ago when a traffic worker held up his stop sign, took off his hat and bowed his head - as has long been custom - to allow a funeral cortege pass.
Both members of Australian Funeral Directors' Association, Ms Tobin and Mr Mylett say there is a widespread view people no longer value manners.
"It's long been one of those nice, unwritten rules," Mr Mylett said. "People are really focused on their own needs but what cost would it be to slow down and allow a procession on its way."
Ballarat civil celebrant Ron Egeberg has repeatedly made his disgust for what he says is "total rudeness and "disrespect" for funeral corteges, predominantly with motorists trying to overtake hearses or pedestrians ignoring a procession.
"We will all experience this at some stage in life, whether it is a loved on or us in the back of the hearse," he said.
A funeral cortege is led by the hearse and followed with loved ones in vehicles with their headlights on. Etiquette is to give way to processions at intersections as a show of respect and support for mourners.
Ms Tobin said funeral corteges are particularly prominent for large country funerals and those moving from church funerals to committal services in the cemetery.
For services close to cemeteries, family will usually follow the hearse to the burial with others walking to the grave site.
Ms Tobin said there has been a shift for families to farewell the hearse from a service preceding a cremation.
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