Safety Tips for New Drivers 

Safety Tips for New Drivers

March 4, 2024

Congratulations! You passed the test, smiled for your photo and now hold that hard-earned driver’s license in your hands. Getting your driver’s license is a rite of passage. It means more freedom, more independence and more responsibility. Before you go solo behind the wheel, here are some tips to help you stay prepared on the road.

Stay Predictable

One of the golden rules for new drivers is to stay predictable. Following the rules of the road not only ensures your safety but also contributes to the overall smooth flow of traffic. When you drive defensively, you can stop the crash before it starts.


  • Use Your Blinker: Whether making a turn, merging or changing lanes, always use your turn signal. It communicates your intentions to other drivers and helps promote a safer road for everyone.
  • Wait Your Turn: At four-way stops, left turns into oncoming traffic, navigating roundabouts – whatever it is, patience is key. Waiting your turn avoids confusion and keeps everyone on the same page.
  • Never Drive Distracted: Avoid distractions such as texting, eating or adjusting the radio while driving. Your focus should only be on the road.

Watch Your Speed

The faster you go, the less time you have to react. Following speed limits isn’t only the law of the land — it’s a crucial safety measure. Stay within the posted speed limits to maintain control of your vehicle and respond better to unexpected situations.

Choose Your Passengers Wisely

Teen passengers are often cited as common distractions for new drivers. It’s important to only let people in your car that are going to help you drive, not distract you. Good passengers can help with navigation and answer your phone, allowing you to keep your focus on the road.



Not only is smart driving the safest thing to do, it’s also the easiest way to win big. From March 18th through April 30th, South Dakota teens can take a two-minute quiz for a chance to score $10,000 for themselves and $10,000 for their school. Last year, over 4,000 students pledged to be a safe driver for the chance to win. Will you do the same?

Enter Now

winter driving tips & tricks

Winter Driving Tips & Tricks

November 30, 2023

As we enter the coldest month of the year, it’s a good reminder that the journey is just as important as the destination. When you’ve got someplace to be, you have every reason to get there safely. That’s why we’ve come up with five winter driving tips to help you hit the road.

Checkoff Your Checklist

Preparation is key to a successful winter trip. Take the time to ensure your vehicle is ready to face South Dakota’s winter roads. Test your car’s battery, measure your tire pressure, test those brakes, check your fluids, fill up with gas and make sure your headlights work. It’s like giving your car a warm-up stretch before kickoff.

Stay Informed

It shouldn’t be a surprise that South Dakota weather is erratic. Stay up to date on the weather by keeping an eye on the forecast and current road conditions. Things can change quickly, so check the weather often. And when no travel is advised or roads are closed, listen. It’s also smart to share your itinerary with someone else, so they know when to expect you and can send help if needed.

Clear the Snow and Ice

Before hitting the road, take the time to clear snow and ice from your vehicle. This includes your headlights, taillights and the roof. Snow and ice flying off your car can be hazardous to you and other drivers. And don’t be afraid to pack a small shovel along with your ice scraper — you might just need it down the road.

Brake with Caution

Be gentle on the brakes. Abrupt or sudden braking can lead to sliding on icy roads. If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes, apply steady pressure and let the system do its thing. If not, pump the brakes gently to prevent a lockup.

Don’t Crowd the Plow

Whether you’re driving in town or on the highway, make sure you give the plows some space. Snowplows play a crucial role in keeping roads clear, but they need space to do their job. Stay a safe distance behind snowplows, and never try to pass them. The road conditions in front of a plow are likely worse than those behind it.

Distracted Driving Phone Wallpapers

Distracted Driving Phone Wallpapers

October 11, 2023

If you’re like most people, your cell phone is always within arm’s reach. But that should never be the case behind the wheel. Distracted driving is dangerous. And now, your phone can remind you of that every time you’re tempted to pick up.

Download these DriveSafeSD approved phone wallpapers, here to make you think twice about using your phone behind the wheel.

How to Deal with Hitting a Deer

How to Deal with Hitting a Deer

September 8, 2023

Fall is here. The old flannel in your closet is calling your name, and the pumpkin spice lattes are a-flowing. But more importantly, deer are on the move. Because hunting and mating seasons collide, many deer find their way onto highways, into quiet neighborhoods and, sometimes, right in front of your car. It doesn’t help that South Dakotans have one of the highest risks of hitting an animal while driving. Here’s what to do if man and nature collide.

Drive with Deer in Mind

They’re often most active at dawn and dusk.



Signs are placed in areas with high activity.

Slowly Approach Hills and Turns

You can’t avoid what you can’t see.


Turn on Those Lights

You’ll have better visibility, and your headlights might frighten or help deter deer.

Scan Your Surroundings

It’s not enough to only look at the road. Make sure you’re scanning the sides of roads and ditches.

Brake and Honk Your Horn

If you have time to react, this may scare the deer out of the road.

Don’t Swerve

It might seem counter intuitive, but turning quickly could cause more damage than hitting the deer. Quickly swerving may cause you to hit oncoming traffic in the other lane or cause your vehicle to roll. Don’t turn a bad situation worse.

So, you hit a deer. Don’t worry, it can happen to any driver. These instructions will help you navigate the aftermath.

Step 1

As soon as it’s safe, pull your car to the side of the road away from traffic.


Step 2

Call emergency services in case of injury, to remove the deer and file a report.


Step 3

Leave the deer alone. It could be dangerous to approach if it’s still alive.

Step 4

Document the incident. Take photographs if it’s safe to do so.


Step 5

Don’t assume your vehicle is okay to drive. Look for loose parts, flat tires etc.

Remember the best way to deal with deer is to prepare in advance. Taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of colliding with deer while driving.

Summer driving tips


A Dos and Don’ts Guide

May 31, 2023

Summer’s back in full swing, which means it’s time to break out the sunscreen, use your PTO and go on a trip. It’s also a great time to practice being safe on the road because, of all the seasons, summer is the most dangerous for drivers according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Don’t go cancelling your plans just yet. Instead, follow these dos and don’ts for a summer of safe driving. You’ll be at the beach in no time.

Custom Message Creator

Custom Message Creator

Need to Decline a Call? We’ve Got You Covered.

February 9, 2023

Do you ever find yourself having to decline a call while driving? Are you bored of the typical “Sorry, I can’t talk right now” response? Same — which is why we’ve brought you a How-To guide to customizing a “decline” message that you’ll be excited to use (because driving distracted is never worth a response).

Quick Reminder! 250 South Dakotans were killed or injured in distracted driving related crashes in 2020.

Step one

Grab your phone and go into Settings->Phone (iPhone) or Call Settings (Android).

STEP two

Scroll until you see “Respond with Text” (iPhone) or “Quick Responses” (Android).

Step three

Create the most unique, epic and applicable response message you can think of.

message inspiration

If your go-to message is the average “I’m on my way,” then thanks for reading thus far. However, if you’re looking for something that speaks more to you or your situation, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite custom responses.

Driving distracted is deadly. Craft your message, decline the call and drive safe.



Are you ready for winter driving?

January 10, 2023

If you answered “no,” check out our top tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safe in blustery conditions. If you answered “yes,” use this to refresh your snow-covered driving skills.


Before you brave the snowy roads, grab your lucky penny and stick it in the treads of each tire. If Abe’s eyes have disappeared, you’re in the clear. If you can still see his forehead, it’s time for new tires.


Make sure your tank is at least ¼ full, if not more. When temperatures start to drop, the chances of frozen fuel lines start to rise, so it’s always a good idea to keep enough gas in the tank to ward off any freezing.


We’ve all seen those people, the ones who clear the bare minimum of snow from their windshield. Don’t be like them. Be diligent in scraping all windows of ice and snow, set your heat to “Defrost” mode and make sure you give your vehicle enough time to warm up before you head out.


Snacks? Check. First-aid kit? Check. The tie blanket you made in 6th grade? Double check. Make sure you have the “what if’s” covered by packing an emergency weather kit, especially if you’re traveling from one town to another.


Whether it’s a light dusting or a full-blown blizzard, our best piece of advice is to stay home unless you absolutely must travel. If so, slow down and increase the distance between you and other cars by at least double — you never know how long it will take to stop.


Ah, the dreaded skid. From black ice to high winds, chances of skidding or sliding increase dramatically during winter months. Our top tip? Steer in the direction of the skid. That way, once you’re out of it, you don’t have to make a last-second over correction.


For this tip, we’d like you to imagine a little kid trying to run up a slide. Got it? Now picture the slide as an icy hill and the little kid as your vehicle. What we’re trying to say is avoid stopping while driving up hills as much as possible. Gravity and ice will always win.


As tempting as cruise control is, especially on long drives, using it during icy or snowy weather isn’t the best idea. Using cruise control can mask the loss of traction until it’s too late to correct, so stay alert and in control.

Well Done

You did it. Now that you’ve reached your destination, grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate as a reward for staying safe on less-than ideal roads.

Holiday Mocktails

Sip sip hooray!

Your mocktail guide to being the life of the holiday party.

December 19, 2022 // 2 Minutes

We’ve got a list of holiday-inspired mocktails that yule never forget. Something else to never forget? How dangerous it is to drink and drive. So, snuggle up, grab your glass and get ready to sleigh the (safe and sober) holiday party game.

Berry Merry martini

Serves: 1

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 Cup raspberry flavored sparkling water

Splash of cranberry juice

1-3 Raspberries

This mocktail is easier to make than your Slide-to-Buy Amazon order. Add the first three ingredients in a fancy martini glass, find a stirrer (or small stick) and garnish with raspberries.

Holiday mimo ho-ho-sa

Serves: 2-4

The juice of 1 grapefruit

3 12-Oz cans of ginger ale

1/4 Cup simple syrup

Handful of fresh basil

We love a mocktail that can make an appearance at any meal, any party or any time of day. Juice the grapefruit and mix with the ginger ale and simple syrup. Add your ice, basil and grapefruit rind to a champagne flute for the best non-boozy bubbly.

White (Christmas) Russian

Serves: 1

2 Oz brewed coffee

1/4 Tsp vanilla extract

1/8 Tsp peppermint extract

2 Oz heavy cream

1 Peppermint stick

Instagram-worthy and refreshing? Count us in. Grab your favorite Old-Fashioned glass, fill it with ice, pour in the coffee, and add in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Slowly “float” the heavy cream over the coffee, plop in your peppermint and be on your merry way.

The outcider

Serves: 3-5

10-12 Quartered apples

1 Quartered pomegranate

1 Quartered orange

1 Cinnamon stick

4 Tbsp maple syrup

There’s nothing better than a warm cup of happiness on a cold winter day. So, let’s get started. Throw everything into a crockpot, add 5-6 cups of water and cook on low for 6-7 hours. (This is when we suggest taking a nap, going sledding or baking cookies.) Strain the mixture, locate your coziest mug and enjoy.

Coquito of the bells

Serves: 2-4

4 Cups of coconut milk

2 Cups of heavy cream

1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 Tsp cinnamon

Pinch of coconut flakes

Known as Puerto Rican eggnog, this mocktail is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Mix all ingredients in a blender, refrigerate overnight and serve in the trendy glassware of your choice. Garnish with coconut flakes, cinnamon and holiday wishes.