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South Dakota DPS Knowledge Test & Permit Practice – 2021

This South Dakota DMV Practice Test
  Number of questions on each test: 25
  Question pool: 500+
  Type of test: Random multiple-choice



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#1. What does this sign mean?

Side Road Ahead.

The sign tells you it is a branch intersection with traffic entering from one side. Be prepared to slow down, and observe any special speed limit instructions, in the event a car enters or crosses the highway from the side road.


#2. When you drive at night, you should:

Driving at night is more difficult and hazardous than daytime driving. The distance you can see in front is limited by light provided by your headlights.


#3. A traffic signal with a flashing yellow arrow means:

If you are turning left, a flashing YELLOW arrow traffic light means you may cautiously enter the intersection to make the turn indicated by the arrow when it is safe to do so after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Oncoming traffic will have a green light.


#4. This sign means you:

This sign indicates a left turn is permitted, but you must yield to oncoming traffic. It is commonly placed at intersections, near the left-turn traffic signal, to remind drivers left turns are not protected when the circular green signal comes on.


#5. If a pedestrian is crossing in the middle of a street where there is no crosswalk, you:

Pedestrians are difficult to see, and it is difficult to determine their intentions. As a driver:

  • Always be prepared to yield to pedestrians even if they are not in a crosswalk.
  • You must yield when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, even if it is unmarked, including mid-block crosswalks marked by warning signs and pavement markings.
  • You must yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians in the intersection even if the traffic light is green.

#6. A road sign shaped like this means:

This three-sided sign is shaped like a pennant. The sign indicates the start of a no passing zone.


#7. When approaching a bicyclist from behind, you should:

Drivers must be careful when driving close to cyclists and should maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and the cyclist. Do not follow too closely and do not blast your horn.

On this road, pavement markings indicate that passing is not safe.


#8. Which is true about alcohol?

Alcohol and other impairing drugs reduces things like your judgment, vision, color distinction, and reaction time. Alcohol slows your ability to process information and respond to the task of driving.


#9. When you see this sign, what should you expect ahead?

Stop sign ahead. One of the most important caution signs is the stop ahead sign. It is placed far ahead of a stop sign when the driver’s view of the stop sign is blocked by a curve or other objects.


#10. Which is the main cause of car skids?

Skids are caused when you are traveling too fast for the road conditions, when you stop suddenly, or when the tires can no longer grip the roadway. When you begin to skid, you have little control of your vehicle. If your vehicle begins to skid:

  • Release pressure from the brake or accelerator.
  • Look where you want to go and steer the vehicle in the direction you want to go.

#11. You have stopped your car. Before opening your door, you should always:

Get out of the vehicle on the curb side if possible. If you use the street side, be sure to check for traffic before opening the door. Shut the door as soon as possible after getting out.


#12. You may not pass another vehicle on the left side of the road:

Do not attempt to pass when an oncoming vehicle is approaching, when your view is blocked by a curve or a hill, while at intersections, or before a highway-railroad crossing or bridge.


#13. When are you required to stop at a railroad crossing?

You must stop at a railroad crossing when directed by a flagman or stop sign, flashing red signals or other devices that warn you of a coming train.


#14. When should you use your horn?

If there is danger, do not be afraid to sound a SHARP BLAST on the horn. Give the horn a SHARP BLAST:

  • When another vehicle is in danger of hitting you
  • When you have lost control of the vehicle and are moving toward someone

#15. If you approach an intersection with a stop sign but no stop line or crosswalk, you should:

Many intersections are marked with stop lines to show where you must come to a complete stop. These stop lines help to set you farther back at an intersection to give larger vehicles more turning space. Always stop behind stop lines. If there are no stop lines, you must stop before the crosswalk or intersection until it is safe to proceed.


#16. To reduce your risk of hitting a wild animal you should be extra alert:

Deer are most active in the dusk and dawn hours, so be especially alert while driving during these times. Scan the sides of the road to watch for the reflection of the vehicle headlights in the eyes of deer.


#17. When approaching an intersection to make a left turn and oncoming traffic prevents you from making an immediate turn, you should:

Make sure it is safe to turn. Yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic. If oncoming traffic prevents you from making a turn, stop before entering the intersection. Should the light turn red when you are in the intersection, complete the turn. Do not back up.


#18. If you refuse to take a BAC test when requested by an officer, you can lose your license for:

When you get your driver license, you have implicitly consented to a lawfully requested test to determine the alcohol content of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance if suspected of impaired driving. You can lose your driver’s license for one year if you refuse to take a BAC test.


#19. A shared center left turn lane can be used:

Shared center lanes are reserved for making left turns (or U-turns when they are permitted) by vehicles traveling in either direction. On the pavement, left-turn arrows for traffic in one direction alternate with left-turn arrows for traffic coming from the other direction. These lanes are marked on each side by solid yellow and dashed yellow lines. Be sure you enter the lane only if it is safe to do so.


#20. What does this sign mean?

This sign tells you that there is a flag-person ahead to control traffic. Slow down and be prepared to stop.


#21. You approach this road sign. It tells you to be particularly alert and watch for:

Deer crossing.

Deer often cross the road in this area. Slow down if you see deer or other wildlife.


#22. When following large trucks:

There are certain situations when you need more space in front of your vehicle. Increase your following distance when following large vehicles such as trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, and vehicles pulling a trailer. Remember, blind spots for large vehicles can extend up to 200 feet directly behind the vehicle. Position yourself so that the driver can see you easily.


#23. When can you drive at the maximum speed indicated by a speed limit sign?

Driving safely means adjusting your vehicle speed for roadway and traffic conditions, providing an adequate following distance, and obeying the appropriate speed limits.

South Dakota law sets absolute top speed limits at which you may travel on a given road, street, highway, or freeway. This does not mean that you have the right to travel at that top speed under any and all conditions.

The law continues to say that no matter what the posted speed limit, you must never drive at a speed faster than is safe for conditions.

This is known as the basic (or general) speed law.


#24. An orange and red sign like this on a vehicle means:

A fluorescent or reflective orange and red triangle displayed on the rear of a vehicle means the vehicle is traveling less than 25 mph. Use caution when approaching a slow-moving vehicle, and be sure it is safe before you pass.


#25. When is a good time to adjust your seat and mirrors?

When getting into your car, make certain the seat is adjusted properly for your comfort and safety. Adjust your mirrors. Always fasten your safety belt and shoulder harness if you have one. Make sure they are both firm and comfortable to you. The head restraint on newer cars is an important safety addition. It should be in a correct position so that in the event someone runs into your vehicle from the rear your chances of a neck injury are cut down considerably.

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South Dakota DMV Written Knowledge Test
  Number of questions on exam: 25 questions
  Passing score: 80 percent
  Correct answers to pass: 20
  Allotted time to complete test: No limit
  Wait time before retest: 1 day

South Dakota Practice Test

South Dakota Practice Tests

This South Dakota knowledge test has 25 random questions, just like the real SD knowledge examination. You must correctly answer 20 questions to pass the examination, which means that you must reach a passing score of 80 percent.

After each question, there is instant feedback to let you know if your answer is correct or not. When you miss a question there is also a brief explanation, based on the information in your Driver License Manual.

Answers to all exam questions are found in the South Dakota Driver License Manual, so make sure you read it.

You can get a hard copy from any DPS location or download a PDF-version online .

The practice test is a randomized test (just like the real knowledge test) that pulls questions from a larger database. This means that each practice test is slightly different, and you will see new questions most of the time.

You can take the practice test over and over again until you feel ready for the real South Dakota DPS test.

Please note that this is a practice test, not a real examination that qualifies for a test certificate. South Dakota does not offer any kind of knowledge testing from home.

You should also know that is not affiliated with South Dakota DPS or any Government Entity.

Young woman studying - Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

After reading the Driver License Manual, you should take practice tests to verify how much you’ve learned. Most likely, you will miss some questions when you start practicing. Read the short comment and look up information in the manual. If you don’t fully understand the answers and why they are correct, find someone to discuss rules and safe driving techniques with. It will help you learn much faster.

An important key to success is to carefully read all questions and choices. Try not to add your information or read anything into a question that isn’t there.

Another common mistake is to just try to memorize questions and answers. It is a risky study tactic and no guarantee of passing the real exam.

Unless you truly know and understand the information in the Driver License Manual, it is hard to pass the real permit examination.

What You Must Know about the Real South Dakota Knowledge Test

Your first step towards a South Dakota driver license contains two tests:

  A vision screening
  A written knowledge test (on a computer)

If you need glasses/lenses for your vision screening, don’t forget to bring them. You will not be allowed to take any other tests if you fail the vision screening.

The passing score on the South Dakota permit test is 80%. You need 20 correct answers to pass. If you fail the written test, you must wait at least one day before you can try again. There is no new fee the second time your try, but after three attempts you must pay a new fee.

Minors must always be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when visiting a Driver Licensing office.

The written test is available in English only.

If you have passed an approved South Dakota driver education course with at least an 80% score, the knowledge test at a driver exam office is waived. You must bring the driver education certificate with you to the driver exam station and pass the vision screening.

Is the South Dakota Permit Test Difficult?

South Dakota does not publish failure rates, but it is estimated that about one out of three fail their first attempt on the test.

Who Must Take the South Dakota Test?

  All new drivers

An applicant who hasn’t been licensed before must always pass all tests. An applicant under 18 years must follow the three-step program under the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, which includes the first Instruction Permit, the Restricted Minor’s Permit, and the full unrestricted South Dakota Driver License.

  Drivers with an expired license

Drivers who let their South Dakota Driver License expire more than 30 days can be required to pass the knowledge test again. A test may always be required at the discretion of DPS staff.

  Drivers with a revoked license

After a revocation of your driving privilege, you must pass all applicable tests in addition to a new application fee and a reinstatement fee.

If your license is suspended, you don’t have to take any new tests when your license is reinstated – unless the license expires for more than 30 days during the suspension period.

  Drivers with a license from another country

Holders of a foreign driver license who move to South Dakota must pass the same tests as first-time applicants. Exemptions exist for holders of a valid license from Canada or Germany.

When you hold a valid driver license another state or territory and move to South Dakota, no testing (except vision screening) is necessary to get a South Dakota driver license.

What is on the Official South Dakota Written Test?

The written test is designed to test your:

“…ability to read and understand highway signs regulating, warning, and directing traffic, the knowledge of the traffic laws of this state.”

You should expect a small number of questions about the road signs described in the South Dakota Driver License Manual. Don’t forget to learn how colors and shapes are used for the most common signs.

You will most likely also see a question or two about traffic signals and/or pavement markings. Know when you can cross yellow center lines and when you cannot.

There is also a clear focus on how to safely share our highways with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers and large trucks.

Specific South Dakota traffic laws include the consequences of impaired driving and the purpose of South Dakota point system.

Many questions in the question pool also deal with everyday driving situations, such as right-of-way rules at intersections, and what to do in case of accidents and vehicle failure.

Remember, everything you need to know for your test is found in the Driver License Manual. Never think you can pass the test without getting the latest version of the manual.

We help you pass your South Dakota DMV exam

South Dakota Permit and License FAQ

If you are a US citizen, you should bring an original or certified birth certificate, social security card, and two documents proving your South Dakota address. If you are a minor, proof of address can be provided by the parent who comes to the driver license exam station with you.

If you are a non-citizen, you need an unexpired permanent resident card or unexpired U.S. Visa with an unexpired I-94, social security card, and two documents proving your South Dakota address.

If you are under 18 years, you must have approval of a parent/legal guardian, and the parent/legal guardian must accompany you when apply for the permit.

A parent or guardian who signed for you to get your permit can at any time request to have your permit or license cancelled.

When you hold an instruction permit and practice driving, you must be supervised by a licensed driver who is at least 18 years old and have at least one year driving experience. The supervising driver must always sit in a front seat beside you.

The Instruction Permit allows you to practice from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. if you you are supervised by a driver who is not a licensed parent or guardian.

From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., you must have a parent or legal guardian seated beside you.

The holding period for the Instruction permit is 90 days if you have satisfactorily completed a state-approved driver education program. This means that you must 14 years and 90 days old before you can apply for the Minor's Permit.

If you haven't completed a driver education course, this holding period is extended to 180 days and the minimum age for applying becomes 14 years and 180 days.

You cannot have had any traffic convictions within the last six months when you apply.

Yes, the minor's permit allows you, with your parent's or guardian's permission, to drive unsupervised during daytime (between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

If you want to drive at night, a parent or legal guardian must occupy a seat beside you.

When you are 16 years old, you can apply for a full operator's license with full driving privileges and no restrictions.

Your Instruction Permit or Restricted Minor’s Permit will be suspended for 30 days if you are under 16 years old and are convicted of a traffic violation or of violating the restrictions of your permit.

If you are convicted a second time, the suspension period is 90 days or until you turn 16, whichever is longer.

You must be at least 16 years of age to get your full SD Driver's License.

If you have achieved at least an 80% grade in a state-approved driver education course within the last year, no road skills test is necessary.

Appointments ONLY

Currently (March 2021), driver exam stations are offering service by scheduled appointment only! If you plan to take your knowledge test at exam station, you must schedule an appointment .

Final Note

We have designed all tests to challenge your knowledge of rules of the road and safe driving practices. By using our practice tests as a study guide, you can prepare for and pass the South Dakota DPS knowledge test without any problems.

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