Can You Turn Right on Red in South Dakota?

Right turns on red are legal in South Dakota unless there’s a sign posted at the intersection prohibiting the turn.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Right turns on red are generally legal in South Dakota as long as there’s no sign specifically restricting them. Of course, drivers must obey right-of-way rules when making a right turn on red. 
You learned it playing red light, green light as a kid—red light means stop. But in most states, you’re actually allowed to turn right on a steady red light.
However, this is not the case in all states! Right turns on red aren’t legal at every intersection, so knowing the exact traffic laws in your area is crucial in order to avoid expensive traffic citations associated with red light violations. 
As luck would have it,
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Can you turn right on red in South Dakota?

Yes, as long as there’s no sign specifically prohibiting right turns on red.
According to
Section 32-28-4
of the South Dakota Codified Laws, you may turn right at a steady red light if: 
  • You come to a complete stop first and check for approaching traffic
  • You yield right of way to pedestrians and other traffic 
  • Local authorities have not posted a sign banning right turns on red at a particular intersection
In other words—keep an eye out for the appropriate traffic sign to determine whether a right turn on red is legal. If there’s no sign, you’re good to go after making sure the intersection is clear.
If you’re at a flashing red light, treat it the same way you would a stop sign. You can turn right on a flashing red light as long as there are no traffic signs indicating otherwise.
If you’re at a steady red arrow, you must come to a full stop. South Dakota law does not allow right turns on a steady red arrow under any circumstances.

What about left turns on red?

Yes and no. 
In South Dakota, local jurisdictions get to decide whether to allow left turns on red. In jurisdictions that do allow it, drivers can make a left on red from a one-way street onto another one-way street.
Key Takeaway You can turn right on red if there’s no sign posted, but make sure to come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians and other traffic. 
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Penalties for an illegal right turn on red in South Dakota

Though it’s usually legal to turn right on red in the Mount Rushmore State, you can also get a ticket if you’re caught turning right on red at an intersection that prohibits it. 
South Dakota does not play. Stoplight and stop sign violations are considered class 2 misdemeanors that could carry penalties of up to 30 days in jail, up to $500 in fines, or both. 
But typically, stoplight and stop sign violations just involve a fine of $122.50 (including fees) and no jail time.
Additionally, you’ll see at least three demerit points added to your
South Dakota driving record
. Please note that if you accumulate 15 points in 12 consecutive months or 22 points in 24 consecutive months, your license may get suspended. For a first-time offense, you could lose your driving privileges for up to 60 days.
Not only will you get stuck with a hefty fine and possible jail time, but your
insurance premium can increase
once this violation hits your driving record. Insurance companies expect you to be a safe driver, and committing a class 2 misdemeanor doesn’t help your case. 
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