Route 23 is a highway located near White Plains, New York where a deadly multi-vehicle pileup occurred on May 13, 2001, killing 18 people. The disaster was caused by a logging truck that spilled its payload across the highway, causing a chain reaction of crashes.
Theatrically, the Route 23 pileup is the second major disaster of the series, as seen in Final Destination 2, and the fourth major disaster chronologically, given the events of Final Destination 5.
The premonition begins when Kimberly Corman stops on the on-ramp, almost rear-ending the car in front of her. Her friends ridicule her for this mistake until a homeless woman pounds on her window at an attempt to collect empty soda cans to sell for cash. Kimberly and the ill-fated group who will soon avoid the disastrous pile up enter the highway.
As Kimberly drives on Route 23, she notices several omens that cause her to become more and more uncomfortable the further she drives down the highway, such as: ominous songs playing on the radio, seeing a child in a vehicle next to her replicating a head-on car crash with a model car and model red pickup truck (that looks eerily similar to the red SUV she is currently driving), witnessing a semi-truck driver drinking a beer, passing by a school bus filled with a high school sports team that chants "Pile up!", and noticing emergency signals lighting up on her car dashboard.
Just before the pileup occurs, Officer Thomas Burke drives in his patrol car behind a truck carrying heavy, thick logs. He notices a loose chain dragging along the road, distracting him as coffee spills onto his leg. The chains holding the logs on top of the truck's flatbed snap, and the logs fall off. Thomas is too distracted by cleaning up the spill before he looks up to notice a log bouncing up from the ground and heading straight toward his patrol car. The log bursts through the windshield, decapitating Thomas. Eugene Dix and Rory Peters see the accident and attempt to drive out of the way. Eugene's bike falls over and he is thrown against a log, where his motorcycle slides across the road and slams into his torso, crushing him.
Rory hits a log and his vehicle flips several times before finally landing upright in the middle of the road in the opposite lanes. Rory survives the rollover, but is not quick enough to avoid a garbage truck that ruthlessly plows into his car and kills him in a fiery explosion. Shortly afterward, Kat Jennings crashes head-on into a log, sending her SUV end-over-end and landing upside down on top of the log.
Nora Carpenter and her son, Timothy Carpenter, swerve across the road to avoid the logs and destruction, causing Tim to drop a water bottle onto the floor of Nora's seat. The water bottle rolls underneath the brake pedal and prevents Nora from stopping the car. She crashes her car into the same log that Kat crashed into, exploding on impact. Isabella Hudson, who is pregnant, drives a white van through the destruction, narrowly avoiding death when a log sideswipes her vehicle. The log truck ultimately jackknifes to a stop, leaving behind a path of destruction. Kimberly swerves to avoid a log and flips her SUV over it, rolling out of control and severely injuring herself and her friends Shaina, Dano, and Frankie before it lands on its left side. Evan Lewis, in his attempts to avoid crashing his car, collides with the gas tank of the log truck, exploding on impact.
To Kimberly's surprise, Evan is still alive and trapped in his car by his seatbelt, screaming as the fire burns his flesh away. Kimberly begins to cry as she watches Evan burn alive in the wall of flames. Suddenly, a truck carrying several cars jackknifes through the wall of flames and annihilates Evan. The truck careens toward Kimberly's car with no intention of stopping. Kimberly screams as the truck drives into her.
At that point, the vision ends, and Kimberly and her friends are still safe on the on-ramp. Kimberly freaks out after signs in her premonition come true, and ends up intentionally blocking traffic. Thomas comes by and questions her motives, where she begins to explain that a large car accident is about to occur. Shortly after Thomas asks Kimberly to step out of her vehicle, the log truck passes by and the accident occurs. Thomas retreats to call for help, but a moment later, he pulls Kimberly out of the way when the truck carrying several cars on its trailer rams into her SUV, killing Shaina, Dano and Frankie. Thomas holds Kimberly back as she cries hysterically over the loss of her friends.
- During the opening credits, there's a journal page that says ROAD TRIP. However, a set of keys cover the T, spelling ROAD RIP.
- Kimberly sees a bus with people inside screaming "Pile up!". It was later revealed to contain students from Mt. Abraham High School.
- A news announcement about the Flight 180 memorial plays on the radio in Kimberly's SUV.
- The song "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC plays on the radio shortly after the memorial announcement.
- Kimberly sees a car passing by with a kid slamming a red toy truck against a bigger truck.
- Kimberly and Shaina see a man drinking beer in the Hice Pale Ale beer truck, with a sign saying DRINK RESPONSIBLY! on it.
- Kimberly sees an electrical sign stating NEXT 180 FEET.
- Eugene Dix has pool ball keychain with the unlucky number 13 on it.
- During and after the premonition, a homeless person comes up to Kimberly's van shaking a bag of cans and said bag snaps open releasing its cargo, just like the log truck would in the vision.
- Kimberly sees a sign showing that there is a rest stop 23 miles away.
- While Kimberly was watching television, the clock was showing 1:08, a mixed up version of 180.
- Kimberly's father, Michael, sees gasoline leaking from his daughter's SUV, which due to its coloration, resembles blood.
- After Kimberly's premonition, when the real pileup occurs, Officer Burke runs to his car, and speaks into his radio for medical assistance. He announces his unit is number 13.
- In Final Destination, Clear Rivers sat in row 23 on Flight 180.
- In Final Destination 3 when Kimberly Corman and Thomas Burke's newspaper about their death is read in detail, Route 23 is repeatedly referred as Route 180 (Flight 180 in Final Destination, Aisle 180 in The Final Destination).
- Thomas Burke (unknown)
- Kimberly Corman (unknown)
- Eugene Dix (deceased)
- Rory Peters (deceased)
- Kat Jennings (deceased)
- Nora Carpenter (deceased)
- Tim Carpenter (deceased)
- Evan Lewis (deceased)
- Isabella Hudson
- Isabella Hudson's unborn son
- An unnamed garbage truck driver (possibly)
- Some people witnessing the disaster
- The Route 23 pileup occurred on May 13, the same date that Flight 180 and the Coral Clipper disasters.
- The Route 23 pileup is the only disaster where no memorial service for the casualties was explicitly shown.
- This disaster has the distinction of being the only one in which the death order was reversed, since Death did it to seal the rift caused by the survival of the Flight 180 passengers and Clear Rivers still being alive.
- There are eight survivors of the Route 23 pileup. 180 divided by 8 is 22.5, which can be rounded up to 23. In addition, 8 plus 2 and 3 (from the number 23) adds up to 13, the unluckiest number.
- The opening credits of Final Destination 5 references the pile up with logs and coffee falling on the screen.
- 23 is considered an ominous number in some circles.
- In an early script for Final Destination 2, Route 23 was originally called Route 18.
- William Bludworth mentions in Final Destination 5 that he's "seen this before", meaning there is at least one unnamed disaster that occurred before all of the other disasters shown in the Final Destination series.