Clear the snow from the windscreen and windows, from the roof and the car of the bonnet as well as it will blow black on to other cars when you get moving. Bear this in mind when following other vehicles, particularly lorries. Ice and snow from the roofs of lorries can blow onto the road.
Whatever the weather, make sure your windscreen and windows are clean. Low winter sun will highlight smears and scratches and cars get much dirtier more quickly when the roads are wet. Clean your windows inside and out – a dirty screen will cause the windows to mist up much quicker.
Don't switch the engine on until you are ready to go; a modern car does not need to warm the engine up. When you get in the car, make sure all extras such as lights, heaters and the radio are turned off before you try starting it. When you're ready to go, switch the heater or the air con on, so that the windows don't steam up. Check that you can see through all the mirrors and windows before pulling away. Use the 'ice' setting if your car has one.
As well as making sure your car is ready, it's important that you're appropriately prepared too. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged. Program the number for your breakdown provider into it, and ensure you have any policy numbers or membership cards that you might need. Think about your emergency kit, particularly in rural areas – a high viz jacket, food and water, boots, de-icer, scraper, torch and shovel are all musts when the weather is particularly bad. And if you take regular medication, make sure you have enough with you in case you're delayed.
Don't forget, if the weather is really bad; think about whether you really need to make the journey before travelling. If so, ensure you take out the time to prepare your car from the elements you face.