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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. 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.


#2. When you approach a roundabout or traffic circle:

When using roundabouts or traffic circles:

  • Slow down to enter the roundabout or traffic circle.
  • Yield to the traffic in the roundabout or circle.
  • Enter a roundabout or traffic circle in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Proceed to the appropriate exit, signal intent, and exit.

#3. This pavement marking means:

A solid yellow line marks a No Passing zone. If the solid yellow line is on your side of the road, do not pass. Pass only if there is a broken line on your side.


#4. When driving at higher speeds, which method helps you determine a safe following distance between you and vehicle in front?

Following the vehicle in front of you closely limits your vision of the road and does not allow enough time to react to avoid a crash. Always try to keep a minimum following distance of 4 seconds between your car and the vehicle in front.

Remember, there are certain situations when you need more space in front of your vehicle.


#5. When is inappropriate and wrong to use your horn?

Use your horn whenever it will help prevent an accident. Using the horn inappropriately could scare or anger another road user. Do not use the horn in the following circumstances:

  • Encouraging someone to drive faster or get out of the way
  • Informing other drivers of an error
  • Greeting a friend
  • Around blind pedestrians
  • Around animal-drawn vehicles or animals being herded on the roadway

#6. When overtaking a bicyclist on a road with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, how much room should you give the bicyclist?

When passing, the law requires at least three feet between the side of your car and the bicyclist.


#7. When is a good time to adjust all inside and outside rearview 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.


#8. When you park on a hill headed uphill and there is a curb, you should turn your front wheels:

Parking on a hill:

  • Check for traffic in the mirrors and blind spots. Signal right and pull over as far to the right as possible and stop. Slow as you are moving out of traffic.
  • Turn the wheels sharply to the left if there is a curb and facing uphill.
  • Turn the wheels sharply to the right if there is no curb or if facing downhill.
  • Set the emergency brake and place the vehicle in park. If the vehicle has a manual transmission, shift it into reverse if parking downhill or into the lowest gear if parking uphill.

#9. When is the only time that you should drive with one hand in a 12 o'clock position on the steering wheel?

When backing up, 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 and look directly through the rear window.


#10. Anti-lock brakes prevent wheels from locking. This means your tires are less likely to:

Most new vehicles are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). The ABS will allow you to stop your vehicle without skidding and keep steering control. Be sure to read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to use the ABS. The ABS system will allow you to stop without skidding. The general guidelines for using ABS are:

  • Press on the brake pedal as hard as you can and keep applying constant pressure. Do not pump the brakes because this will deactivate ABS.
  • ABS will work only if you keep the pressure on the brake pedal. You may feel the pedal vibrate and you may hear a clicking noise. This is normal.

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

It is not true that they need less room to maneuver.

Truck drivers must make wide turns in order for the rear of the truck can clear corners and curbs. It is very important to pay close attention when a large vehicle uses turn signals. Do not pass a truck until it has completed turning as sometimes it uses space from other lanes to clear corners.


#12. The blood alcohol level at which it is illegal for any person 21 years or older to drive is:

In South Dakota it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. Even under 0.08 percent, you are still impaired. Under the law, you can still be convicted for driving impaired. Under South Dakota’s zero tolerance law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher.


#13. Blue road signs are used for:

Motorist services signs are white on blue. They direct you to services, such as gas, food, motels, and hospitals. Blue is also used to identify parking spaces for disabled drivers.


#14. You approach this road sign. What does it tell you?

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.


#15. What does this sign tell you?

This is a regulatory No U-turn sign. Anytime you see a sign bearing a red circle with a slash mark across a black arrow (or another symbol), it means do not do whatever is shown by the arrow (or other symbol). On this sign, the message is that you must not make a U-turn.


#16. When stopped by law enforcement, it is important that you:

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.


#17. When approaching an intersection with a flashing red light you must:

A flashing RED traffic light means the same as a stop sign. You must come to a complete stop and then may go when it is safe to do so.


#18. Night driving is more dangerous than daytime driving because:

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.


#19. If you are involved in an accident, you must:

If you are involved in an accident, you must stop. Stop your vehicle at or near the accident site. If your vehicle can move, get it off the road so that it does not block traffic or cause another crash.

If any person is injured or killed, get help, and make sure the police is notified. Exchange information with other drivers involved in the crash.


#20. 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.


#21. If a school bus with flashing red lights has stopped on the other side of an undivided highway with two lanes, you must:

You must always stop for a school bus that has its red lights flashing or its stop arm extended at all times unless the roadway is separated by a physical barrier.

When you have stopped, you must not proceed until the bus moves or the driver signals to you that the way is clear, or the red lights are no longer flashing.


#22. If you are about to make a right turn and there is a bicyclist ahead of you:

When making a right turn, signal your turn, and check for bicyclists. You should slow down and let a cyclist clear the intersection before making your turn. Avoid turning sharply in front of a bicyclist and do not force a bicyclist off the road.


#23. When using the acceleration lane at an interstate entrance, you should:

Do not drive to the end of the lane and stop or there will not be enough room to get up to speed of traffic. Also, drivers behind you will not expect a sudden stop. If they are watching traffic on the main road, you may be hit from the rear. If you must wait for a space to enter the roadway, slow down on the ramp so you have some room to speed up before you must merge.


#24. When are you most at risk of drowsy driving?

You are most at risk when you are sleep deprived, driving long distances without rest breaks or taking medicine that increases sleepiness.

When you are tired, you could fall asleep behind the wheel and crash, injuring or killing yourself or others. Stop every hour or so or when you need to. Walk around, get some fresh air, and have some coffee, soda, or juice. The few minutes spent on a rest break can save your life.


#25. You approach this sign. What should you do?

Traffic signal ahead. Slow down and be prepared to stop, if necessary.

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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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