What do you do when a school bus stops in front of you?
How about when you’re driving alongside a bicycle?
Or a huge truck?
In this article, we’re going to teach you the South Dakota rules of the road.
In other words, we’re going to show you how to share the road with others, including:
- School buses
- Large trucks and buses
- Emergency vehicles
- Slow-moving vehicles
This way, you can ensure safety for yourself and everyone else.
Plus, this will help you avoid those annoying tickets.
So are you ready to learn?
Let’s get started!
How to Share the Road with School Buses
Knowing your stuff around school buses is vital, considering the unpredictable nature of children on the road.
What’s more, it’s a law.
So if you see a school bus stop with red flashing lights and a STOP sign extended, you must always stop behind it — at least 15 feet away.
Even if you are driving in the opposite direction as the school bus, you must also stop.
Everyone can continue once the school bus stops the flashing lights, withdraws the STOP sign, and starts moving again.
Now, if you’re driving in the opposite direction as the school bus, you don’t need to stop if it’s a highway with 2 or more lanes in both directions.
But sometimes, you might see the school bus flashing an amber light.
This means that you have to slow down to 15 mph and pass carefully.
How to Share the Road with Pedestrians
On the road, pedestrians are probably the most vulnerable.
They have nothing to protect them.
So it goes without saying that you must always, always be on the lookout for pedestrians.
And when you do see one, always yield the right of way.
To help drivers, there are usually crosswalks or signs that tell you where pedestrians are supposed to cross.
The STOP and YIELD signs are two well-known examples that demand you stop or slow down before a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross.
But we know that not everyone crosses there.
Regardless if a person crosses the crosswalk or not, the driver must give way to them.
Yes, even if your traffic light turns green, you should only proceed once all pedestrians have crossed.
Extra safety is required in school zones, where you’ll be limited to a speed of 20 mph and have to keep a lookout for children trying to cross.
Drivers are also advised to drive slower than the stated speed limit in residential areas as there are more likely to be pedestrians crossing.
How to Share the Road with Bicycles
Like pedestrians, bicyclists are also vulnerable on the road.
Drivers tend to get very impatient with bicyclists — but please don’t.
Instead, treat them with respect.
- Always yield the right of way when turning. Wait for a bicyclist to pass before you make the turn. You don’t want them to get stuck between the sidewalk and your vehicle.
- When bicycles try to cross, treat them like pedestrians. Always yield the right of way.
- Bicycles have a right to take up one lane. Don’t try to squeeze them into the sidewalk.
- Don’t pass a bicycle from the same lane. Signal your intentions to them, go to the other lane, and pass carefully.
- Don’t use your horn on a bicycle as it might startle the bicyclists and let them lose balance. Only horn when absolutely necessary.
- Give bicycles space. Because it requires balancing, a bicyclist might have to avoid potholes or other obstacles on the road. If you are right beside them, they will have no space to maneuver.
- Always be on the lookout for hand signals. Remember, bicycles don’t have light signals to warn you what they’re going to do.
- Never drive, stop, or park in a bicycle lane.
How to Share the Road with Motorcycles
In South Dakota, motorcycles are considered vehicles.
Regardless of their size, a motorcycle should be treated like any other vehicle.
So don’t share a lane with them.
Always pass them on the other lane — carefully.
Be aware of motorcycles, especially in your blind spots.
Before passing, turning, or switching lanes, turn your head slightly sideways to see your blind spots for any motorcycles.
Don’t assume that a motorcycle is about to turn if they have a blinking signal light. Some motorbikes don’t have an automatic turn-off for the signal lights.
If this is the case, carefully watch the motorcycle for its next move — whether it is really turning or not.
How to Share the Road with Large Trucks and Buses
For pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles, you were the one in the safer position.
But when it comes to large trucks and buses, you are the one that needs to keep safe from them.
And yes, I know driving alongside these big vehicles can be daunting.
If you follow these South Dakota rules of the road, then you should be in good hands:
- Always remember that large vehicles have blind spots. These are directly in front and at the back of the truck, as well as right beside the front doors. Keep clear of these blind spots so that you’ll be seen by the driver.
- When passing, do it quickly. But never cut in front of the large vehicle as they have a harder time braking.
- When passing, always let the driver know about it. Make sure they see your signal. You might give a little horn as a warning, too.
- Give space to large vehicles that are turning. Remember, they will usually need to take up 2 lanes to make a turn. So don’t try to squeeze in between.
- Never suddenly stop or slow down in front of a large vehicle. Again, this is because they have a harder time making sudden brakes.
How to Share the Road with Emergency Vehicles
Say you hear loud sirens blaring and red lights flashing behind you.
What do you do?
In South Dakota, there is a Move Over Law.
This means that you must move to the side to let these emergency vehicles pass.
If you can’t get out of the way, then you can proceed forward until you find a space you can go to.
Yes, emergency vehicles can beat a red light.
So if your lane shows a green signal but there is an emergency vehicle approaching, you must wait for it to pass.
What if you are the one being targeted?
If a police car has flashed its lights behind you, then you should slow down and stop at the side of the road.
Do not attempt to step out of the vehicle unless instructed to.
Also be sure to have your seatbelt fastened, and keep your hands on the steering wheel, to allow the officer to have a full view of your vehicle and its cabin.
How to Share the Road with Slow-Moving Vehicles
In South Dakota, slow-moving vehicles (such as tractors, old trucks, and farm equipment) have the right to use the roads alongside regular vehicles.
One thing you should know about slow-moving vehicles is that they can travel less than 25 mph.
Plus, you’ll know them by the orange triangle at the back of it.
If you ever encounter these, be sure that they know you’re about to pass.
Remember, due to the noise of their vehicles, they might not hear you coming. So you should signals, maybe do a light horn and pass quickly.
But if the slow-moving vehicle is animal-drawn, then NEVER use your horn. You just might startle the animal.
Overall, just make sure you pass them safely.
And those were the South Dakota rules of the road.
Now you know how to drive alongside school buses, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, large vehicles, emergency vehicles, and slow-moving vehicles.
If you follow these road rules, then you’ll be a much better and safer driver.
Being a responsible and safe driver is always the way to go.