A funeral procession, chances are it's something every South Dakota driver has encountered at least a few times in their life while being behind the wheel.

The question is, are you fully up to speed with the driving laws regarding funeral processions once you do encounter one?

Let's find out.

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For instance, what should drivers do if a funeral procession approaches their vehicle from behind?

I've always heard that you need to pull over to the side of the road until all the vehicles inside the funeral procession have passed your vehicle.

According to South Dakota codified law 32-26-55, technically that is not true. It's kind of an unwritten law that the operator of a vehicle that encounters a funeral procession from behind their vehicle should as a sign of respect pull over to allow the funeral procession to safely pass, however, there is no South Dakota law stating that a driver must do so.

What are the laws if you approach a funeral procession in progress?

Here is where South Dakota law begins to get rather specific. There are a number of laws within the state that deal with these types of situations.

According to the website Lawserver.com, the operator of a motor vehicle not in a funeral procession may not drive between the vehicles comprising a funeral procession while those vehicles are in motion unless authorized to do so by a law enforcement officer or unless the vehicle is an emergency vehicle giving an audible or visible signal.

South Dakota codified law 32-26-53, states the operator of a motor vehicle not in a funeral procession may not join a funeral procession for the purpose of securing the right-of-way.

Are drivers allowed to pass a slow-moving funeral procession if it can be done safely?

South Dakota law clearly states operators of a motor vehicle not in a funeral procession may NOT pass the vehicles in a funeral procession on any two-lane highway or roadway. However, the motor vehicle operator not in a funeral procession MAY pass a funeral procession on the left on any highway having two or more lanes traveling in the same direction as the procession if the passing can be done safely. If the funeral procession is in the farthest left lane, the operator may pass a procession on the right if the passing can be done safely.

Can drivers following a funeral procession in South Dakota legally follow the procession through a red light?

According to codified law 32-26-53, that would be a big no. The operator of a motor vehicle not in the funeral procession may not enter the intersection unless the operator can do so without crossing the path of the funeral procession.

What are the consequences for not following the South Dakota driving laws that pertain to funeral processions?

The website Lawserver.com says violations of any of these provisions are considered a class 2 misdemeanor and are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. With that being said, not everyone convicted of a misdemeanor will go to jail.

Source: Lawserver.com

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