Waldorf Woman Dies After Being Struck by Car - Southern Maryland Headline News

Waldorf Woman Dies After Being Struck by Car

LA PLATA, Md. (April 23, 2009)—A Waldorf woman passed away after being struck by a car as she crossed the street at Smallwood Drive West near St. Patrick's Drive in Waldorf on Friday, April 17, around 8:24 p.m. Sara Laureen Smith, 44, was transported to a nearby hospital where she died several hours later.

The car that struck Ms. Smith was traveling west on Smallwood Drive. Police say the driver of the car remained on the scene until help arrived.

The preliminary police investigation revealed the victim was not in a crosswalk and was wearing dark clothing.

Officer R.E. Glover, of the Charles County Sheriff's Office, conducted the investigation.

The sheriff's office says this is the third pedestrian death in Charles County they have investigated this year. In light of the deaths, police issued the following advisory shortly after the latest incident:

"Pedestrians can take simple precautions: use crosswalks, cross at the corner, or cross at other designated crossing areas; obey pedestrian signal indications; and wear reflective materials when walking at night. Drivers are reminded to look for pedestrians in crosswalks and other designated crossings, as well as at all intersections and to look for pedestrians when turning, keeping in mind that when a car is stopped ahead of you, there may be a pedestrian crossing."

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

1. Cross the street only at intersections. Do not jaywalk.

2. Use marked crosswalks where available.

3. Do not cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars. Drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block and you are more likely to be hit if you do this.

4. Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets and continue to watch out for traffic the entire time you are in the crosswalk. Your life may depend on it, regardless of whether or not you have the right-of-way.

5. Remember; don't take those "NO RIGHT TURN ON RED" signs for granted. Always check for turning vehicles before stepping off the curb - motorists make mistakes too.

6. Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

7. Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again before you step into the street. Be sure to evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street to ensure that a vehicle has adequate distance in which to stop safely.

8. At intersections, scan over your shoulder for turning vehicles. Make eye contact with the driver of a stopped car while crossing in front or in back of it—making sure that the driver knows you are there. This is also important for cars that might be backing out of driveways.

9. Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.

10. Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets.

11. Always look for signs that a car is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of motor, wheels turning), and never walk behind a vehicle that is backing up.

12. Children should not cross streets by themselves or be allowed to play or walk near traffic. Kids are small, unpredictable, and cannot judge vehicle distances and speeds.

13. Always hold your child's hand. Never allow a child under 10 to cross the street alone.

14. In foul weather (rain or snow), allow extra time and distance for a vehicle to stop. Do not let umbrellas or jacket hoods block your view of approaching traffic.

15. If your view of approaching traffic is blocked by something, move to where you can see (e.g., outside edge of a parked car), stop and look left-right-left again.

16. Never run or dash into the street.

17. Watch out for entrances to parking lots. Sidewalks often cross driveways and entrances to parking lots. Always check to see if a car is entering or exiting the parking lot.

18. If the intersection has a pedestrian signal, press the button and wait for the pedestrian signal to display the "WALK" indicator. The "WALK" signal indicates that it is safe for a pedestrian facing the signal to proceed across the roadway in that direction. Continue to be alert for traffic at all times, however, while in the roadway and always check for turning vehicles.

19. A flashing "DON'T WALK" signal means that a pedestrian should not start to cross the roadway in the direction of the indicator, once the "DON'T WALK" sign begins to flash. This indicates that there is probably not enough time left in the cycle for you to cross the street safely. However, any pedestrian who has partially completed their crossing should finish crossing the street or proceed to a safety island in the same direction in which they were headed.

20. A steadily illuminated "DON'T WALK" indicator means it is not safe for a pedestrian to enter the roadway in the direction of the indication. Pedestrians waiting to cross should wait for the next "WALK" signal in order to cross the street safely.

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