Three friends, Arlene, Shanna and radio DJ “Jungle” Julia Lucai, drive down Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, on their way to celebrate Julia’s birthday. In a bar, Julia reveals that she made a radio announcement offering a free lap dance from Arlene in return for addressing her as “Butterfly,” buying her a drink, and reciting a segment of the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Aging Hollywood stunt double Mike McKay trails the women to a bar and claims the lap dance. Arlene is suspicious, having seen Mike’s car earlier that day, but he convinces her to give him the lap dance.
The women prepare to depart with Lanna, another friend. Pam, Julia’s old classmate, accepts Mike’s offer of a ride home. Mike takes Pam to his Hollywood stunt car rigged with a roll cage and tells her the car is “death proof,” but only for the driver. He speeds and slams on the brakes, smashing Pam’s skull on the dashboard, killing her. He catches up with the women’s car and drives into it at high speed, killing them. Mike survives with no serious injury. Sheriff McGraw believes that Mike killed the women intentionally, but because Mike was sober while the women were intoxicated, he cannot be charged.
Fourteen months later, three young women, Abernathy Ross, Kim Mathis and Lee Montgomery, are driving through Lebanon, Tennessee. They stop at a convenience store, where Mike watches them from his car. The women pick up their friend, stuntwoman Zoë Bell, from the airport while Mike inconspicuously photographs them. Zoë tells them that she wants to test-drive a 1970 Dodge Challenger, the same type of car from the 1971 film Vanishing Point, that is for sale nearby. The owner lets them test-drive it unsupervised after Abernathy tells him that Lee is a porn star and will stay behind.
Zoë tells Abernathy and Kim that she wants to play a game they call “Ship’s Mast,” whereby she rides the hood holding belts fastened to the car while Kim drives at high speeds. Kim is hesitant, but agrees. The three enjoy the stunt, unaware that Mike is watching them. He rear-ends them in his car, causing Zoë to accidentally drop one of her and Abernathy’s belts. After several more collisions, he T-bones them, throwing Zoë from the hood. Kim shoots Mike’s left shoulder, and he flees in his car. Abernathy and Kim cry over the loss of their friend, until Zoë emerges uninjured. The three agree to catch up to Mike and kill him.
Mike has stopped on a narrow road to treat his wound with whiskey. The women rear-end him at a high speed. Zoë gets out and beats him with a pipe, but he resists and drives off again. After a long chase, the women push Mike’s car off the road. They drag him from the wreckage and beat him to death.