South Dakota Written Knowledge Test Practice – 2021



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#1. Orange road signs are used:

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.


#2. When entering a high-speed highway you must:

When merging with traffic, try to enter at the same speed that traffic is currently moving. High-speed roadways generally have an acceleration lane with the entrance ramp to give time to build up speed. Use the lane to reach the speed of other vehicles before merging into traffic.


#3. Starting across an intersection controlled by traffic signals is:

If you are stopped and then the light turns green, you must allow crossing traffic to clear the intersection before you proceed.

Even if you have a green light, do not start across an intersection if it causes your vehicle to stop in the intersection and block other traffic or a pedestrian crosswalk.


#4. What do the light gray areas in this picture show?

Blind spots are areas around the vehicle where your view is obstructed. You cannot see pedestrians or other vehicles in the rearview or side mirrors when they are in these locations. It is important to know the location of any blind spots. Before making lane changes or turns, quickly turn your head to look for any hidden pedestrians or vehicles. Avoid driving in other driver’s blind spots. Be particularly conscious of blind spots when driving near commercial vehicles.


#5. After an accident, the most important thing you can do to reduce the chances of secondary crashes is:

If your vehicle can move, get it off the road so that it does not block traffic or cause another crash. Do not stand or walk in traffic lanes. You could be struck by another vehicle.


#6. To pass safely at a speed of 55 mph, you need at least an opening in oncoming traffic and a sight-distance of at least:

At a speed of 55 mph, you need about 10 seconds to pass. That means you need a 10 second gap in oncoming traffic and sight-distance to pass. You must judge whether you will have enough space to pass safely. At 55 mph you will travel over 800 feet in 10 seconds. So will an oncoming vehicle. That means you need over 1600 feet or about one-third of a mile to pass safely. It is hard to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles at this distance. They do not seem to be coming as fast as they really are. A vehicle that is far away generally appears to be standing still. In fact, if you can see that it is coming closer, it may be too close for you to pass. If unsure, wait to pass until you are sure that there is enough space.


#7. A Crossbuck sign at a railroad crossing has the same meaning as:

When you approach a railroad crossing, you should slow down, look, and listen for a train or railroad vehicle, and be prepared to stop if a train is approaching. The white, X-shaped sign with Railroad Crossing printed on it is located at all highway-railroad grade crossings. The crossbuck sign has the same meaning as a yield sign. When a train or railroad vehicle is approaching the intersection, you must stop behind the stop line or before the intersection until the intersection is clear.


#8. 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.


#9. What does this sign tell you?

One Way. These signs tell you that traffic flows only in the direction of the arrow. Do not turn in the opposite direction of the arrow. Never drive the wrong way on a one-way street.


#10. When driving on winter roads, you should:

In the first storm of the season, most drivers have forgotten their safe winter driving skills. They will drive too fast and try to stop too quickly.

Go slowly. Increase following distances. Avoid sudden, sharp turns. Use light braking. Drive defensively. Relearn your skills.

Remember, posted limits are intended for summer months on dry pavement.


#11. Pedestrians crossing at street corners should be given the right-of-way:

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.

#12. Backing your vehicle is generally:

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.

#13. This sign indicates that:

Reduction of lanes / Lane drop. The sign means that there will be fewer lanes ahead. Traffic must merge left. Drivers in the left lane should allow others to merge smoothly. Right lane ends.


#14. If you prepare a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcyclist who signals a right turn, you should:

Do not assume a motorcycle is turning when you see its turn signal flashing. Motorcycle turn signals may not self-cancel and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn them off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.


#15. What is the best advice to a driver who has been drinking alcohol?

The best advice is not to drive a vehicle of any kind if you have consumed alcohol or other drugs. Never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using other impairing drugs.


#16. If you are being tailgated, you increases the risk of a collision from behind if you:

Every now and then you may find yourself being followed closely or tailgated by another driver. If you are being followed too closely and there is a right lane, move over to the right. If there is no right lane, wait until the road ahead is clear then reduce speed slowly. This will encourage the tailgater to drive around you. Never slow down quickly to discourage a tailgater, all that does is increase your risk of being hit from behind.


#17. During an enforcement stop by a police officer, 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.


#18. This is the shape and color of a:

A yield sign is a downward pointing triangle. It is red and white with red letters. You will see no other signs of this shape on the highway.

The sign means you are approaching an intersection where you must yield to any lanes you intend to enter or cross approaching from the right or left.

Remember, it is your responsibility to slow down, look to the right or left and yield to oncoming traffic. The yield sign is also found at railroad crossings without signals where you must yield to approaching trains.


#19. 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.


#20. Wearing your safety belt:

Studies have shown that if you are in a collision while using safety belts, your chances of injury or death are greatly reduced. Safety belts keep you from being thrown from the vehicle and helps the driver keep control of the vehicle.


#21. Proof of financial responsibility is needed:

South Dakota state law requires you to maintain proof of financial responsibility. Written evidence of your financial responsibility must be carried in the vehicle covered and presented to any Law Enforcement Officer upon request.


#22. When driving on a clear night with a steady stream of oncoming traffic, you should use:

Use high beams only when there are no oncoming vehicles. Whenever it is necessary to drive with the lights on, use the headlights – not parking lights. Parking lights are for parked vehicles only.


#23. On a highway with two-way traffic, you may cross 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.


#24. When driving on wet roadways, you should:

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.

#25. To avoid getting tired on a long trip, you should:

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.

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South Dakota Driver Licensing Test

Key numbers for the official South Dakota DPS knowledge test:

Test Questions: 25
Correct answers needed: 20
Passing score: 80 percent
Time limit: No
Earliest retest if you fail: Next day

South Dakota Permit Tests - Photo by William Fortunato

Test Your Knowledge before You Take the South Dakota Exam

This practice test is designed to help you verify your knowledge before you take the South Dakota written test for a learner’s permit or a full unrestricted driver’s license.

Unlike the practice tests on many other websites, this test focuses only on facts described in the South Dakota Driver License Manual published by SD Driver Licensing Office. Everything on your knowledge exam is drawn from this manual. You will not get any questions about driving rules that aren’t found in the manual.

The practice test pulls 25 question from a large pool of questions, which helps you cover all important items in the manual and truly help you prepare for the exam. If you reach a full score on a handful of practice tests, you are also very likely to pass the real examination the first time.

What You Should Know about the South Dakota Exam

There are 25 questions on the official knowledge test. You must correctly answer at least 20 question to pass and get your learner’s permit – a passing score of 80%.

Should you fail the first time you take the test, you cannot take it again the same day. There is a minimum wait time of one day before your next possible attempt.

If you fail three times, you must pay your permit fee again before you can take the test a 4th time. There will also be a longer wait time.

You must take the test at Driver Licensing Office or as part of an approved Driver Education Course.

South Dakota DPS does not allow testing from home. You should also know that tests on this website are not official tests that qualify you for a permit. is not affiliated with South Dakota Department of Public Services. Practice tests are only designed to be a learning tool.

The test is a closed book test, and you cannot use the manual or any other books when taking the test. The use of any electronic devices is also prohibited.

The test is given only in English. If you need a translator, you must provide and pay for the translator yourself.

When taking the test at a Driver Licensing Office, you may need to make appointment before your visit. All testing on a walk-in basis was cancelled as a result of the COVID19 pandemic.

South Dakota Graduated Driver Licensing Program

The South Dakota Graduated Driver Licensing program is a three-step process for teenagers to earn their first driver license. After the initial phase with an instruction permit and supervised driving, a teenager may drive unsupervised with the South Dakota Minor’s Permit.

This permit allows a teenager to drive alone between from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, but not drive alone at night.

For the first six months a teenager cannot drive with any passengers, other than immediate family or household members. After 6 months, a teen may carry no more than one passenger who is not part of your immediate family or household.

The restricted Minor’s Permit cannot be converted to a full and unrestricted license until a teenager is 16 years.

Instruction Permit
Minimum age: 14 years
Hold period: 90 / 180 days
Minor’s Permit
Minimum age: 14 years 90 days
Hold period: Up to age 16
Unrestricted License
Minimum age: 16 years

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