One promise of Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks (VANET) is to considerably increase road safety and travel comfort by enabling inter-vehicle communications. Among a vast array of potential applications, emergency message (EM) dissemination has attracted a lot of attention in the literature. In this paper, we propose a time/location-critical (TLC) framework for EM dissemination and use our scalable modulation and coding (SMC) scheme to achieve the goal. In specific, vehicles near the accident site (or the point-of-interest location) receive guaranteed, detailed messages to take proper reaction immediately (e.g., slow down or change lanes), and vehicles further away have a high probability to be informed and make location-aware decisions accordingly (e.g., detour or reroute), with the assistance of reverse traffic when possible and necessary. The efficacy of the proposed framework is analyzed and validated by extensive numerical and simulation results. The TLC framework and the use of the SMC scheme are shown to be able to disseminate EMs effectively and efficiently by taking both the time and location criticality into account, while simplifying the design of radio transceivers and media access control protocols for VANET.