SHOW some respect.
That’s the call from a funeral director overseeing the final journeys of loved ones in Bournemouth and Poole as a new report reveals one in six drivers has witnessed motorists swearing and making hand gestures at corteges.
Steven Dabin, area manager for the Poole and Bournemouth division of Co-operative Funeral Care, said grieving families travelling to funerals were left distressed by rude drivers.
“I’m afraid it is true. There is a lack of courtesy shown sometimes.
“We drive slowly as a mark of respect, and that tends to create a queue behind us.
“If people see us coming, they try to get in front of us, even to the point of people cutting into the middle of the cortege between the hearse and the family’s car,” he said.
One in 12 drivers quizzed by the survey said they didn’t know that it was considered respectful not to overtake the funeral procession.
Three out of four drivers said they would consider pulling over to let a funeral cortege pass as a sign of respect and nine out of ten would drive at a slower speed to remain behind the funeral procession.
The survey also found that pensioners were twice as likely as drivers under 45 to show respect to funeral corteges.
Mr Dabin said the idea of a funeral procession went to the heart of a shared display of grief that would continue during the service.
“The procession is a way of showing respect to the memory of a family member of loved one. It’s for the family to do together. It’s the whole sense of togetherness. It’s literally the final journey.
“If someone cuts in front, or the middle, or even down to rude hand gestures some times, it can be very upsetting. We don’t want to see that.”
But Steven Tapper, director of Tapper Funeral Service, said he wasn’t aware of falling standards of respect for corteges.
“In Poole, Christchurch, and the older towns, there is a sense of community, and if a funeral is taking place people are aware that the community is one person less as a result.
“I’m encouraged that we continue to see people paying respect to the dead, even if they didn’t know them,” he said.