Recent studies suggest that Self-organizing Time-Division Multiple Access (STDMA) might be a better medium access strategy in inter-vehicle communication networks than Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA), especially when considering safety focused applications. Although it is necessary to completely understand a protocol and the effect of its ‘turning knobs’ on performance before adoption, STDMA has not yet been subjected to such rigorous treatment in the literature. In order to address this shortcoming we perform and present an in-depth analysis and evaluation of STDMA’s fundamental principles. In particular, we contribute a detailed and complete description of the STDMA protocol, followed by the analysis and evaluation of two key questions: How can packet collisions occur in STDMA and whether packet collisions are ‘contagious’. We further perform a fair comparison with CSMA on the basis of which we provide recommendations on the configuration of STDMA. Our results show that STDMA coordinates multiple access effectively – even in highly congested situations – as long as all transmitted packets are decoded successfully. ... mehrWhen non-decodable (but still carrier-sensible) transmissions are present, STDMA effectiveness drops below that achieved by CSMA due to the lack of control information. To ensure reproducibility and encourage further inquiry we release the STDMA implementation used in this paper to the wireless networks research community.