South Dakota Traffic Rule Update: Understanding the Right Turn on Red Rule in 2024

Acing your driver’s license test is just the first step to becoming a safe and responsible driver in South Dakota. Traffic laws are constantly evolving, and staying informed ensures a smooth and legal driving experience. This article delves into the intricacies of the right turn on red rule in South Dakota, addressing any recent updates (as of May 4, 2024) and offering valuable tips for navigating intersections safely.

Right Turn on Red: A General Overview

The right turn on red rule allows drivers to make a right turn at a red light after coming to a complete stop, yielding the right of way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic. This maneuver, when executed cautiously, can improve traffic flow, especially during low-volume periods.

Right Turn on Red in South Dakota: The Current Landscape

Here’s the good news for South Dakota drivers: Right turns on red are legal throughout the state unless there’s a specific sign prohibiting them. This aligns with the general practice across most of the United States.

Key Considerations for Right Turns on Red in South Dakota

  1. Coming to a Complete Stop

This might seem obvious, but it’s crucial. Don’t inch forward or roll through the intersection. Come to a full stop behind the marked stop line, or if there’s no line, at the crosswalk.

  1. Yielding the Right of Way

Before turning right, ensure it’s safe to do so. Here’s what to prioritize:

  • Pedestrians: They have the right of way, even if they’re just stepping onto the crosswalk as the light turns red for you. Allow them ample time to cross safely.
  • Oncoming Traffic: Look for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, including those turning left. Don’t proceed if there’s a chance of collision.
  1. Avoiding Common Mistakes
  • Rushing the Turn: Don’t turn on red if oncoming traffic is too close or visibility is limited.
  • Failing to Yield to Pedestrians: Pedestrian safety is paramount.
  • Distracted Driving: Put down your phone and stay focused on the road while making the turn.

Specific Scenarios and Considerations

  1. Right Turn on Red with a Yield Sign

Sometimes, even at an intersection where right turns on red are generally allowed, you might encounter a yield sign specifically for right-turning vehicles. In this case, treat it like a regular yield sign: Come to a complete stop, then proceed cautiously after ensuring a safe gap in traffic.

  1. Right Turn on Red with a Flashing Red Light

Flashing red lights typically indicate a four-way stop. Here, the right turn on red rule doesn’t apply. Come to a complete stop, then proceed only after yielding the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians who have already come to a stop.

  1. Right Turn on Red with a Red Arrow

A steady red arrow is a clear instruction to stop. Do not attempt a right turn on red in this scenario. Wait for the arrow to turn green before proceeding.

Recent Updates and Clarifications (as of May 4, 2024)

As of today, there haven’t been any major legislative changes to the right turn on red rule in South Dakota. However, it’s always a good practice to check with the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) website for any recent updates or clarifications (

Additional Tips for Safe Right Turns on Red

  • Signal Your Intention: Before coming to a complete stop, activate your right turn signal to alert other drivers of your intention.
  • Maintain Situational Awareness: Scan the entire intersection for potential hazards, including pedestrians, cyclists, and oncoming vehicles.
  • Use Your Judgment: Don’t feel pressured to make a right turn on red if the situation feels unsafe. Opt for caution over convenience.

Examples of Cities with Specific Right Turn on Red Regulations

While South Dakota follows the general right turn on red rule with exceptions for posted signs, it’s important to note that some cities within the state might have additional regulations in specific areas. Here are a few examples:

  • Rapid City: Right turns on red might be prohibited at certain intersections with high pedestrian traffic.
  • Sioux Falls: Similar to Rapid City, specific intersections might have signage restricting right turns on red due to safety concerns.
  • Aberdeen: Drivers are advised to be particularly cautious when making right turns on red at intersections with multiple lanes of oncoming traffic.

Benefits and Potential Risks of Right Turns on Red

  1. Benefits
  • Improved Traffic Flow: Right turns on red can help reduce congestion, especially during periods with lower traffic volume.
  • Reduced Idling Time: This translates to less fuel consumption and potentially lower emissions.
  1. Potential Risks
  • Increased Pedestrian-Vehicle Collisions: Drivers turning right on red might misjudge pedestrian crossing times, leading to accidents.
  • Right-Angle Crashes: Failure to yield properly to oncoming traffic can cause right-angle collisions.

Enforcing the Right Turn on Red Rule

Law enforcement officers in South Dakota are responsible for enforcing traffic laws, including the right turn on red rule. Violations can result in fines and points on your driver’s license.


Understanding the right turn on red rule in South Dakota is essential for safe and legal driving. Remember, even when permitted, prioritize safety over convenience. Always come to a complete stop, yield the right of way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic, and be aware of your surroundings. By following these guidelines and staying updated on any local regulations, you can navigate South Dakota intersections confidently.

Call to Action

For more information on South Dakota traffic laws and driver safety resources, visit the South Dakota Department of Public Safety website ( or your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.


The information in this blog article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always refer to official sources for the most up-to-date traffic laws in South Dakota.

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MBS Staff
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