Driving during a good snow is pretty much the most dangerous thing you can legally do in a car. However, snow isn't the problem; its the driver. The safest thing you can do is stay home, but most of us have lives that require us to be away from the house most of the time. We work, we go to school, we do what we need to do and a little snow can't stop us... Right?
Winter is brutal on a car. The snow piles up and sticks in places that like to rust. The cold makes things brittle and they like to break, so having your car in top shape is the best thing you can do. Replace things like cracked or broken windows, windshield wipers, headlight bulbs, brakes and tires. Performing basic maintenance has 2 effects. The first being that this helps extend the life of your car, and the second, knowing that your car is going to work when you walk out takes unnecessary stress out of your life!
Having a good car is a major step in winter driving. You don't need to go out and buy a massive SUV or truck with 4x4 when a small car will do. Remember, 4 wheel drive only means you have traction that will propel you not stop you. Some people say having something heavy is a good idea but remember the Laws of Physics; inertia. If your car weighs 2000 lbs. and your SUV weighs 4000 lbs., it takes WAY more to stop the SUV than it does to stop the car.
I have 2 cars and access to a massive 4x4 truck. My first car is a VW Golf; it was the first car that I bought. While it has front wheel drive, it goes through the snow pretty well but what it needs are good winter tires. However, I've had it for 4 years and its become my toy, so I bought an Audi A4 with quattro all wheel drive.
Tires are the best thing you can do for your car.
I should note that having a car that doesn't depress you makes a major difference. I care about my cars and when something doesn't work, it hangs over me like a dark cloud.
Things you'd like to have:
The right car - not too big with AWD.
2 sets of wheels