An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of an in-vehicle collision avoidance warning system (IVCAWS) on driver performance. A driving simulator was driven by 135 licensed drivers. Of these, 120 received alerts from the IVCAWS when their headway to a lead car was less than 2 s, and the other 15 (the control group) received no alerts. Drivers received varied alert interfaces: auditory, visual, and multimodal. The system had varied levels of reliability, determined by both false alarm rate and failure of the IVCAWS to alert to short headway. Results indicated that the IVCAWS led to safer (longer) headway maintenance. High false alarm rates induced drivers to slow down unnecessarily; large numbers of missed alerts did not have any significant impact on drivers. Driver acceptance of the system was mixed. Interface played a role in driver reliance on the system, with the multimodal interfaces generating least reliance. Actual or potential applications of this research include IVCAWS interface selection for greater system efficacy and user acceptance and the advisability of implementation, even of imperfect systems, for drivers who seek to maintain a safer headway.