Cooperative vehicle safety systems (CVSSs) rely on vehicular ad-hoc networks (VANETs) for the delivery of critical vehicle tracking information. The wireless channel in such systems is shared by vehicles within the transmission range of each other. Due to the near-linear spatial distribution of vehicles in a highway scenario, the vehicular broadcast network is heavily affected by the hidden node interference phenomenon, which considerably limits its capacity. The performance of vehicle tracking application that is the basis for CVSS is therefore significantly affected by the performance of the underlying network. The two main parameters that affect the network condition and performance are the range and rate (frequency) of transmission of safety and tracking messages. In this paper, we analyze the effect of different choices of rate and range and present models that quantify network performance in terms of its ability to disseminate tracking information. Following a thorough analysis of the hidden node affected VANET, we show that channel occupancy or busy ratio can be used as a feedback measure that quantifies the success of information dissemination and, consequently, the CVSS, under different network conditions. These findings are used to design feedback control schemes for transmission range adaptation, which are robust to variations of road and network traffic.