DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is there a law that says that drivers who come across a funeral procession have to stop and let it go by? I, for one, out of courtesy, will stop and let the cars go by. When taking drivers’ education, do the instructors teach their students the right thing to do, which is to stop? — T.B., Auburn

ANSWER: Sun Spots talked to a number of people about this question. All seemed to think that yielding to a funeral procession is a courtesy not a law, but for a definitive answer, Sun Spots turned to the law. The Maine Attorney General’s office referred her to the district attorney’s office, which said they could not give legal advice, so Sun Spots called the Lewiston Police Department. Patrolman Wayne Clifford kindly researched the subject and came to the conclusion that there is no law. Stopping for funerals is a courtesy and a custom.

Some states do have such laws, with a variety of strictures governing what funeral processions can do, including proceeding through red lights. In Maine funeral processions do sometimes go through red lights, but Clifford said if they did so in an unsafe manner and there was an accident, they would be liable for damages.

On one Web site posting someone commented that these days it is more difficult to tell which cars are part of a funeral procession because most new cars have their headlights on all the time. It used to be that if you saw a car with headlights on you knew it was part of a funeral.

To answer the second part of your question, Sun Spots spoke to Dwight at Roy’s Driving Academy. He said that about a year ago the Maine Funeral Directors Association approached the Maine Drivers Education Association about emphasizing in their classes the need to yield to funerals. He said he already did so and continues to emphasize that courtesy to his students.

Peter at Fortin Funeral Homes said that the courtesy shown to funeral processions is appreciated. He said they try not to disrupt traffic any more than necessary and to operate safely, with flags on their cars to identify those leading the procession.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am reaching out to all of your wonderful and caring readers. We lost our dog on Jan 21. My husband took our golden, Maggie, to the vet on Routte 126 in Gardiner. When he got out of the car, Maggie got scared and bolted into the woods behind the vet. He chased after her but lost her. He went back that night, and a snowmobiler had spotted her on the ice. John picked up her tracks for awhile but couldn’t find her.

We put up flyers in nearby businesses, knocked on doors, called the Gardiner police, animal control and shelters. We’ve been out looking for her everyday but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack when you don’t know where to look. We did get a call from someone who spotted her on the Old Brunswick Road in Gardiner, but by the time we got there she was gone.

It’s so cold out, and all we can think of is her being out there alone and hungry. She is timid around strangers, but we’re hoping she’ll get hungry enough to trust someone. If any one sees her, please call the police or us at 837-1256 or 841-1862. Thank you. — Lori StHilaire, Monmouth

ANSWER: Sun Spots is so sorry about your poor pooch. As a fervent animal lover herself, she can imagine how you feel.

If someone spots her again, you might want to borrow a Havahart trap and set it up near where she was seen. Sometimes pets get so scared, they won’t come even to a beloved owner.

One of Sun Spot’s friends had her indoors-only cat go through a window when a stray broke through the screen and scared him. She knew where he was (under an abandoned building), but he wouldn’t come, no matter how much she called. Your Maggie may be the same.

Sun Spots hopes Maggie is home with you soon.

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