GRIEVING Bolton families at the funerals of their loved ones are increasingly subject to road rage, a new report has revealed.

Drivers have pushed into funeral processions, beeped at corteges and even sworn at mourners.

Research by The Cooperative Funeralcare, operators of eight funeral homes in Bolton, has showed that one in eight motorists have seen funeral processions fall victim to abuse or threatening behaviour.

Paul Willan, the Co-operative’s regional manager for Bolton and North Manchester, said: “The situation is getting worse.

“People race past and cut in the middle of processions especially when dual carriageways go down to one lane.

“We’ve had people swear at staff and mourners, which causes a lot of distress during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

“We just ask people to be patient when they see a cortege.”

The survey of more than 2,000 drivers found the North had the highest rate of road rage towards funeral processions.

The report showed nine out of 10 motorists would drive at a slower speed to remain behind a funeral procession.

But one in 12 drivers said they were unaware they should not sound their horn at the cortege or avoid cutting into the procession.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “With the increasing pace and pressure people feel in life, it is not surprising there is less respect and patience for funeral processions.

“All drivers should be prepared to show tolerance towards other traffic — which includes behaving respectfully around a funeral procession.”

The report also found motorists aged 65 or older are twice as likely to show respect to funeral corteges than drivers under 45.

David Collingwood, Cooperative Funeralcare’s operations director, said: “The situation has got increasingly worse over the years, with more traffic on today’s roads.

“When it comes to paying your last respects to someone very close to you, understandably you want the funeral to go smoothly and a little respect and courtesy from passing motorists is appreciated.”