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Why does it always rain on me?

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IAM’s head of riding standards and advanced motorcyclist, Peter Rodger, is offering monthly motorcycling tips. This month, he is advising on riding in the wind and rain.   

 • Give yourself enough following distance. In the rain you need to see the road surface ahead of you early enough to be able to avoid puddles, drain covers and potholes full of water.
• Lorries often throw up a wall of spray that you can’t see through.  Don’t be tempted to rush into an overtake when you can’t see. Stay further back to avoid the worst of spray until you can see clearly enough.
• Heavy rain creates pools of water across the carriageway. If you see water pooling, avoid it if possible. If you see one too late to avoid it, don’t brake or accelerate in it – ease off the throttle a bit, hold the handlebars firmly and steer straight ahead.
• Remember, braking distances increase in the rain. Slow down, look further ahead and increase your following distance.
• Strong winds severely unsettle your bike and blow you off course. Look ahead at the trees and bushes, and the behaviour of other vehicles to see how the wind is affecting them – it will show you where the worst patches are. Watch for gaps in buildings or trees – such as firebreaks in forests – they often cause strong side winds. Riding past lorries and trucks has a similar effect.
• Wind affects other vehicles too. Large and flat sided vehicles are usually most affected – so give them more room, and plan where you are going to overtake. Avoid spots where they are likely to get blown across your path.  

Rodger said: “Riding in bad weather is more challenging. If the weather is really severe, you need to consider whether you need to go out at all, but if you do, give it more thought. The wind itself is invisible, but its effects aren’t – watch them. Getting both cold and wet will really destroy your concentration, as well as be unpleasant, so make sure you have suitable kit for riding in wet conditions.”  

The IAM has launched a new website, for biking advice and tips, with traffic updates, touring advice by country and all you need to know about events and local groups. Tips cover riding with pillions, in groups and night riding.

There’s also a videos page and you can upload your touring photos and stories - get involved at www.betterbiking.org.uk

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