Making the best use of the dedicated short range communications multichannel architecture, we propose a cluster-based multichannel communications scheme that can support not only public-safety message delivery but also a wide range of future multimedia (e.g., video/audio) and data (e.g., e-maps, road/vehicle traffic/weather information) applications. Our proposed scheme integrates clustering with contention-free and/or -based medium access control (MAC) protocols. In our scheme, the elected cluster-head vehicle functions as the coordinator to collect/deliver real-time safety messages within its own cluster and forward the consolidated safety messages to the neighboring cluster heads. In addition, the cluster-head vehicle controls channel assignments for cluster-member vehicles transmitting/receiving nonreal-time traffics, which makes the wireless channels more efficiently utilized for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) nonreal-time data transmissions. Our scheme uses the contention-free MAC within a cluster and the contention-based IEEE 802.11 MAC among cluster-head vehicles such that the real-time delivery of safety messages can be guaranteed. Under our proposed scheme, we develop an analytical model to study the delay for the consolidated safety messages transmitted by the cluster-head vehicles. Based on this analytical model, we derive the desirable contention-window size, which can best balance the tradeoff between the delay of safety messages and the successful rate of delivering safety messages. The extensive simulation results show that, under various highway traffic scenarios, our proposed scheme can efficiently support the nonreal-time traffics while guaranteeing the real-time delivery of the safety messages.