Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside communications is required for numerous applications that aim at improving traffic safety and efficiency. In this setting, however, gauging system performance through field trials can be very expensive especially when the number of studied vehicles is high. Therefore, many existing studies have been conducted using either network or physical layer simulators; both approaches are problematic. Network simulators typically abstract physical layer details (coding, modulation, radio channels, receiver algorithms, etc.) while physical layer ones do not consider overall network characteristics (topology, network traffic types and so on). In particular, network simulators view a transmitted frame as an indivisible unit, which leads to several limitations. First, the impact of the vehicular radio channel is typically not reflected in its appropriate context. Further, interference due to frame collisions is not modeled accurately (if at all) and, finally, the benefits of advanced signal processing techniques, such as interference cancellation, are difficult to assess. To overcome these shortcomings we have integrated a detailed physical layer simulator into the popular NS-3 network simulator. ... mehrThis approach aims to bridge the gap between the physical and the network layer perspectives, allow for more accurate channel and physical layer models, and enable studies on cross-layer optimization. In this paper, we exemplify our approach by integrating an IEEE 802.11a and p physical layer simulator with NS-3. Further, we validate the augmented NS-3 simulator against an actual IEEE 802.11 wireless testbed and illustrate the additional value of this integration.