Hearse Driving – A Day in the Life of a Hearse Driver

Hearse Driving – A Day in the Life of a Hearse Driver

Driving a car in order to get to work or go shopping is one thing, but driving a twenty three foot long hearse for a living is quite something else. No two days are ever the same and variety and variation are major keywords for what the job entails. Join me as I walk you through an average day in the life of a hearse driver of over four years.

Does Driving a Hearse Take a Special Type of Person?

Working for undertakers and being in and around that kind of environment certainly takes a special kind of person, after all they are the unsung heroes of the unthinkable. Coming into action from the moment a person departs from this world. It is the undertakers job to remove a deceased from the very location where they passed away.

From there the deceased will be transported to either a local hospital mortuary for holding or in some cases further investigation by the coroner or taken straight to the undertakers own mortuary pending further arrangements by the family.

A hearse driver not only drives a very important funeral vehicle, but can in most cases be involved in the proceedings right from when the person passes away (depending if he/she is on call at that time).

Once all of the funeral arrangements have been made and it is the day of the funeral the hearse driver will begin the day by preparing the hearse. This requires cleaning it from top to bottom; right down to painting the tyres so that the black stands out giving them a nice shiny effect.

In most cases the flowers are sent to the undertakers so he/she will co-ordinate as to where and how they are placed on and around the hearse once the coffin has been placed on-board and secured. Flowers at the house will either be placed in the hearse or if no room the boots of the limousines until reaching the venue.

A hearse driver has to have a fairly good local and extensive knowledge of the surrounding streets and towns so he/she is able to create an easy, simple, and fairly hazard free route from the family’s house, which is generally where the funeral starts from.

The funeral could also require anything from one to several limousines as the entourage. It is the hearse driver’s job and responsibility to ensure that when driving to the crematorium or cemetery that this entourage is not broken by other vehicles coming between any of the limousines.

For this continuity he/she has to treat and drive the hearse with following vehicles as though it was one long train, this can also include some of the mourners own vehicles as not everyone goes in limousines.

Some of the problem areas include things like traffic lights, when a hearse driver is approaching traffic lights from a distance he/she should be trying to judge them so he/she reaches them as they are turning red. This will give the hearse the best chance to get across once they go green as well as maintain that all the following vehicles do so as well.

Roundabouts, again as the hearse driver approaches from a distance he/she will be slowing the train down so that once they reach the roundabout they are virtually at a crawling pace. Obviously in some cases they have to stop completely for other traffic already on the roundabout. Once clear the hearse will go round the roundabout at a snail’s pace so that all the following vehicles can follow onto the roundabout at close proximity, which stops other vehicles getting between the entourage.

This is the exact same procedure that is used by the hearse when approaching a “T” junction (intersection).

Maintaining a smooth steady speed throughout the entire journey is critical for showing respect and majestic grace while ensuring the timetable is being followed for a punctual arrival.

There are a multitude of obstacles and trials that can challenge a hearse driver on a daily basis and he/she has to be 100% alert at all times as it is their job to ensure that the next of kin in the limousines and following mourners arrive at the designated venue together, unstressed, and above all else, on time.

Once the destination has been reached the hearse will be right at the front outside the doors of the chapel or as close as can be to graveside, this at times can include some tricky negotiation that a hearse driver has to manoeuvre the hearse through, again with seeming ease and grace.

As soon as the hearse has come to a standstill the driver will join the rest of the pallbearers at the rear of the vehicle and carry the coffin to its final destination. Once the coffin has been placed he/she and the other bearers will return to the hearse and remove any flowers and place them at the allotted location so that once the family and mourners come out from the service they can view all the flowers that have been sent in respect of the deceased.

Death is never an easy time for those left behind and the position of the hearse driver is to do whatever he/she can in order to make the final journey for all concerned as smooth and trouble-free as is possible. Above all else though a hearse driver is just another cog in the funeral businesses wheel, which ensures safe and ease of passage from a person’s death to their final place of rest…