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It's every driver's nightmare. You've got the kids screaming in the back of your used Ford and your partner reading the map upside down, then as if that wasn't bad enough, real disaster strikes. Those solitary snowflakes that were sitting on your windscreen seem to have made a few more friends and before you know it, you're driving through a torrent of snow. Windscreen wipers go on full, fog lights switched on and you're crawling along barely able to see the tail lights of the car in front.

This is a common occurence for winter driving and one that most of us probably experienced in the chaos of last winter in the UK. However, there is one thing worse than driving through snow storms like this, and that's not driving through snow storms like this.

I'm not talking about sitting at home in front of the fire watching Correy, I'm talking about actually being out there in your car, not being able to drive because everything has ground to a halt. Gridlock. Standstill. Hell. Call it what you will but this is when you find out whether your car is strong enough to stand by you in your hour of need. If you have a clapped out old banger which can barely muster enough energy to get off the drive on a warm summers day then how will she cope with sub-zero temperatures for hours on end.

With winter only 6 weeks away you might want to think about buying a used car which will be hardened enough to battle through this winter, and still ensure that it's not expensive enough to mean that you don't have to skimp on Christmas because you've splashed out on a brand new car.

Many used cars are available online but whichever one you go for, there are some things that you need there are also other things that are constant. For example the tread on the tyres. Ensure that they are properly inflated and that there is enough grip in them because your life (and others') could be at risk in icy conditions if not.

Another crucial thing is to ensure that your car is mechanically ready for the strains of winter driving. Whichever vehicle you buy, make sure before leaving for any journey (particularly in the upcoming winter season) that your brakes, belts, hoses, exhaust and other car parts are in sound condition. Suffice to say, that purchasing a quality used car, the benefits are clear. You save money with a good vehicle that will serve you well in winter at a fraction of the cost of a new car.

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