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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. Which of the following is true about driving on a wet roadway?

If you drive too fast on wet roads you may start hydroplaning. As the speed increases, the tires cannot wipe the road as well and start to ride on a film of water, just like a set of water skis. This is called hydroplaning. The best way to avoid traction loss from hydroplaning is to slow down when driving in the rain or on a road that is wet with pooled water or water puddles.


#2. You should 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.


#3. This red and white sign means:

Do Not Enter is a square sign with a white horizontal line inside a red ball. It warns you not to enter a road or freeway. If you do, you will be driving against traffic.


#4. When you overtake another vehicle at night, why should you use your low beams?

Always use lower beam when approaching other cars so as not to blind the driver.


#5. You are prohibited from making a U-turn:

Do not make a U-turn:

  • At any intersection where a police officer is controlling traffic unless the officer instructs you to make a U-turn.
  • Mid-block on any street in a business district or mid-block on a through (main) highway that is in a residential district.
  • At any place where signs prohibit such turns.
  • Upon a curve or upon the approach to or near the crest of a grade on any undivided highway where the vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of any other vehicle with 500 feet approaching from any direction.
  • At any place where a U-turn cannot be made safely or without interfering with other traffic.

#6. If your vehicle breaks down on a highway:

If you are having vehicle trouble and have to stop:

  • Get your vehicle off the road and away from traffic, if possible.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers to show your vehicle is disabled.
  • Try to warn other roadway users that your vehicle is there. If you have emergency flares, place them about 200 to 300 feet behind the vehicle, giving other drivers some time to change lanes if necessary.

#7. During an enforcement stop, you should:

Remain inside your vehicle unless otherwise directed by the officer. Never step out of your vehicle unless an officer directs you to do so. During an enforcement stop, the officer’s priorities are your safety, the safety of your passengers, the public and the officer’s own personal safety. In most situations, the safest place for you and your passengers is inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle without first being directed by an officer can increase the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle and/or increase the officer’s level of feeling threatened.


#8. This road sign tells you that:

T-intersection. The roadway you are traveling on ends ahead. You must turn either left or right at the T-intersection ahead.


#9. A driver who has been drinking alcohol will usually:

Alcohol and other impairing drugs reduces things like your judgment, vision, color distinction, and reaction time. Judgment is a brain-centered activity that stores all of your experiences and knowledge so it can be used quickly when you face a new problem.


#10. Whenever you come to a hill or curve where you cannot see over or around, you must:

Always reduce speed before entering the curve to a safe speed (a speed that allows you to apply slight and constant acceleration through the curve). Reduce speed more when traction is poor, when following other vehicles, and when you cannot see the end of the curve. Hard braking after entry to a curve could cause the vehicle tires to lose traction.


#11. Which light indicates that you may make an unprotected turn (oncoming traffic has a green light)?

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.


#12. When you are fatigued, you:

When you are tired, you cannot drive as safely as when you are rested. You do not see as well, and you are not as alert as when you are rested. It takes you more time to make decisions and you do not always make good decisions. You can be more irritable and can get upset more easily.

Stop and rest. Never drive if you are sleepy.


#13. When driving at night where there may be people along the side of the road, you should:

It is important to use high beams on unfamiliar roads, in construction areas, or where there may be people along the side of the road.


#14. Which of the following disappears more easily in your blind spots?

Bicyclists may not be easily seen in traffic.


#15. The best way to increase visibility when backing up is to:

Follow these steps to back a vehicle up safely:

  • Check behind the vehicle before you get in it. Children and small objects cannot be seen from the driver’s seat.
  • Place your foot on the brake and shift to reverse.
  • Grasp the steering wheel at the 12 o’clock position with your left hand.
  • Place your right arm on the back of the passenger seat to the right and look directly through the rear window.
  • Occasionally check your mirrors when backing up but keep in mind that these mirrors do not show the area immediately behind your vehicle. If your vehicle is equipped with a rearview camera, occasionally check it while backing up.
  • Accelerate gently and smoothly, keeping your speed slow. Your vehicle is much harder to steer while you are backing up.

#16. This sign alerts you to:

School Crossing or School Zone.

When you see the picture sign with two children’s figures, you know you are approaching a school. Farther along, a second pentagon-shaped sign with the line representing a crosswalk tells you that children may be crossing the road at or near that point going to and from school. Drive slowly and carefully, and be prepared to stop.


#17. Orange road signs give:

Orange is used for construction and maintenance warning. The signs are usually diamond shaped. They notify drivers of unusual or potentially dangerous conditions near work areas.


#18. Driving around a lowered gate at a railroad crossing is:

Sometimes flashing red signals and gates are present at railroad crossings. It is against the law to go around lowered railroad gates at a crossing.

Do not move forward until the gates are raised and the lights stop flashing as there may be a train approaching on an adjacent track.


#19. If you see a pedestrian with a white cane attempting to cross the street, you must:

Blind pedestrians have special protection under the law. You must always yield the right-of-way to persons who are visually impaired. When a pedestrian is crossing a street guided by a dog or carrying a white cane, you must come to a complete stop.


#20. This hand signal means:

Right turn – left arm extended, with elbow bent upward, at about a 90-degree angle.


#21. On a two-lane street there is an oncoming car to the left and a child riding a bike to the right. Which is your safest action?

When you cannot separate risks and must deal with two or more at the same time, compromise by giving the most room to the worst danger. For example, suppose you are on a two-lane street and there are oncoming cars to the left and a child riding a bike to the right. Since the child is more likely to move suddenly than the oncoming cars, the child is the greater danger, and you need a larger space cushion to the right. Move closer to the center line and the oncoming cars to create a bigger space cushion to the right. Although if traffic permits, the safest action would be to pass the bicyclist after the oncoming car passes the bicyclist.


#22. This sign means:

Divided Highway Ends. The divided highway on which you are traveling ends ahead. You will then be on an undivided roadway with two-way traffic. Keep to the right.


#23. The following are true about large trucks, except:

It is not true that trucks gain speed quicker than cars.

In general, trucks require more time than a car to accelerate and reach normal speed.


#24. Under the South Dakota point system, which violation will result in the highest point value?

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI): 10
  • Reckless Driving: 8
  • Eluding/Attempting to Elude: 6
  • Drag Racing: 6
  • Failure to Yield Right-of-Way: 4
  • Improper Passing: 4
  • Driving on the Wrong Side of the Roadway: 4
  • Stop Sign/Light Violation: 3
  • Other Moving Violation: 2

No points will be assessed for speeding, standing, parking, equipment, size or weight violations.


#25. A broken yellow center line:

Yellow lines mark the center of a road used for traffic going in opposite directions. Dashed or broken yellow lines mean that passing is allowed from either direction if safe.

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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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