South Dakota road test

How to Pass Your South Dakota Road Test: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 05, 2022

Once you have that driver’s license in hand, amazing road trips enter the realm of possibilities. Passing the South Dakota road test means you open the door to explore some of the country’s most beautiful sights and usual attractions. Get ready to cross things like visiting Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park off your bucket list. On a more practical level, passing the driving test simply gives you the freedom to get to work, school, or friends’ homes without relying on a parent or older friend or sibling.

To help you unlock this door to independence, we’ve put together this guide that will provide everything you need to know, including prerequisites, skill and vehicle requirements, and tips for maneuvers you’ll be tested on.

South Dakota Road Test Requirements

Before signing up for the road test, you may need to complete some preliminary requirements, depending on your age.

Requirements for Teen Drivers

In the state of South Dakota, teenagers must reach their 14th birthday in order to begin the state’s graduated licensing program. Here are the steps:

  • Instruction Permit. Teens who are at least 14 years old must visit a South Dakota licensing branch with proof of identity and residency documents and parental consent. If a state-approved driver’s education course has not been completed, the applicant must pass a knowledge test. Students must always drive under the supervision of a licensed adult while holding this permit.
  • Restricted Minor’s Permit. After holding the instruction permit for a minimum of 275 days (or 180 days with driver’s education) with no traffic convictions in the previous six months, a teen can take the South Dakota road test to obtain a restricted minor’s permit. If you meet these requirements and pass your test, you’ll be allowed to drive during certain hours with certain restrictions on the number of passengers in the vehicle.

Requirements for Adult Drivers

Adult drivers who do not hold a valid driver’s license from South Dakota or another state will need to pass a road test with a score of 80 percent or higher in addition to:

  • Completing an application form
  • Paying application fee
  • Providing required documents
  • Having a photo taken at a licensing office
  • Passing a vision test
  • Passing a knowledge test with a score of 80 percent or higher

How to Schedule Your Road Test

If you’ve completed all the above requirements, then you can schedule an appointment to visit a South Dakota driver exam station.

Getting Ready for the South Dakota Driving Test

Vehicle Requirements

You’ll want your car to be in good shape before you head over to take your road test, as drivers with a faulty car may be rejected from taking the test. Getting to know your car, understanding basic maintenance, and how you can recognize potential hazards is always a smart idea.

These are a few good tips to keep your vehicle safe and reliable anytime you’re driving:

  • Tires. Be.sure you have properly inflated tires with reasonable treads.
  • Brakes. Properly functioning brakes are critical to driver safety.
  • Lights. Double check that your headlights, brakelights, and turn signals are all operational
  • Visibility. Ensure there are no cracks in the windshield in your line of vision and that all your mirrors are working.
  • Seatbelts. Be sure all seatbelts are functioning properly.
  • Registration and Insurance. Make sure you have both front and rear license plates with current registration and proof of insurance.

According to the South Dakota Department of Revenue (DOR), “Drivers must furnish their own vehicles for road tests, and pets or passengers are not allowed in the vehicle.”

What Maneuvers Should I Know for the Road Test in South Dakota?

You can expect to be tested on general driving skills, such as:

  • Turning. Be sure to check intersections before making any turn for obstructions, use the closest lane, and engage your turn signal. Understand how to make a two- and three-point turn if needed.
  • Roundabouts. Slow down when approaching a roundabout and yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles in the roundabout. Be careful and drive slowly through the roundabout, signaling before exiting.
  • Parking. Understand how to park so your car is not an obstruction. Obey no parking zones, and understand straight, angled and parallel parking as well as how to park on a hill.
  • Lane Changing. When you change lanes on a highway, be sure to signal, use mirrors and check blind spots. Stay with the pace of traffic and be aware of merging vehicles from entrance ramps.
  • Obey Rules. Always obey posted speed limits. Take extra caution if there is inclement weather or other bad conditions. Pay attention to all traffic signals and signs.
  • School Buses and Emergency Vehicles. Pull over for any emergency vehicles, and stop for school buses with red lights flashing and stop sign extended.

What Errors Can Make You Fail Your Driving Test?

Your test performance will be evaluated on a point-based system to determine whether you are deemed a safe driver. In South Dakota, you’ll need to score an 80 percent or higher to pass the road test. Any major violations of traffic rules such as breaking the speed limit or causing an accident will result in an automatic failure. If you fail, be sure to listen to the tester’s suggestions for skills to practice, and try again.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about passing the South Dakota driving test. We hope this guide has helped you out, and that you now feel comfortable with the steps moving forward. If you need any help studying for your upcoming exams, then Zutobi is the perfect study guide with online practice tests, a summarized handbook, and practical driving tips that will help you immensely during the actual road exam.

Take our full course with tests and theory

550+ exam-like questions

All you need to ace your test

Perfect for first-timers, renewals and senior citizens

Ace your DMV test, guaranteed