One method of reducing the number and/or severity of vehicle crashes is to warn the driver of a potential crash. The theory is that there will be driving conditions in which the drivers are unaware of a potential crash and a warning system will allow them to, in some manner, avoid the accident or reduce the severity. In an attempt to develop an analytical understanding of Forward Collision Warning systems (FCW) for frontal impacts a 2-d mathematical/kinematic model representing a set of pre-crash vehicle dynamic maneuvers has been built. Different driving scenarios are studied to explore the potential improvement of warning algorithms in terms of headway reduction and minimization of false alarm rates. The results agree with the field data. NHTSA's new NCAP active safety criteria are evaluated using the model. The result from the analysis indicates that the NHTSA criteria may drive higher false alarm rates. Opportunities of minimizing false positive rates are discussed.