Wet roads

On dry roads, you will usually run out of ground clearance before you run out of cornering grip. And when braking, with the right technique, you can often have the front suspension compressed to the bumpstops, and the rear tyre off the ground, before the front starts to skid. But not in the wet.

On wet road surfaces, cornering and braking can both overwhelm the grip on offer. Also, while different types of road surface, road markings and drains offer enough grip in the dry, in the wet it’s a different story. They can be as slippery as ice.

The biggest issue on wet roads is widely varying levels of grip. The amount of water on the road, and different surfaces and road features, combine in ways that are difficult to judge.

Slightly damp asphalt in perfect condition offers plenty of grip, especially if your tyres are warm. With water running across it you can easily aquaplane. A shiny piece of overbanding covered in light drizzle is like ice. So is a wet metal drain or expansion joint.

New chipseal with sharp stones gives good grip. Another piece can look the same as you approach it but if the stones are rounded the grip is less. Road markings that didn’t matter in the dry can now cause a skid or wheelspin.

The average road surface is a patchwork, so you can’t be sure that the grip you had fifty metres before is available now. That’s why, on wet roads, always ride with plenty of room for error. And, wherever possible, change your line to avoid areas that are likely to be slippery.

Slightly damp asphalt in perfect condition offers plenty of grip, especially if your tyres are warm. With water running across it you can easily aquaplane. A shiny piece of overbanding covered in light drizzle is like ice.

Dry roads

The roads are dry, the sun is out and your tyres are warm. It might seem like an open invitation to scrape the footpegs, but there are dangers to watch out for. Oil, diesel, melting tar, loose grit and animal waste can all catch you out. Again, reposition or change lines to avoid them and apply the right technique if you do slide.