The M25 has been reopened after a three-vehicle crash closed 13 miles of the clockwise carriageway earlier.
An articulated lorry was left jackknifed after the crash with a London taxi and red Citroen near Leatherhead in Surrey at 04:45 BST.
The lorry driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries but the other vehicles’ occupants were unhurt.
Drivers complained of being stuck for hours without water. Highways England said delays should now reduce.
The agency said the motorway was shut earlier between junction eight for Reigate and junction 10 for Wisley.
Kyron Smith, who was travelling to Thorpe Park, said he had been stuck in a queue to join the M25 at junction eight for about three hours.
“Nobody is moving. They haven’t got us any water and they haven’t let us turn back,” he said.
“We have got nothing in the car, no water, and we can’t stop at a service station.”
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Laura Williams, network manager at Highways England said the lorry’s position and a large diesel spill complicated the recovery of the vehicles.
Driver Lee Walker said he had been stuck on the motorway “for about two hours” and described “chaos on the surrounding routes”.
Any witnesses or drivers with dashcam footage have been asked to contact Surrey Police.