Part of the M25 is expected to be closed for several hours after a three-vehicle crash.
The lorry was left jackknifed after the crash with a black cab and a car on the clockwise carriageway near Leatherhead, Surrey, at 04:45 BST.
Police said the lorry driver was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The carriageway is closed for about 13 miles between junction eight for Reigate and junction 10 for Wisley.
Surrey Police said no other injuries were reported and the motorway was expected to remain shut until mid-afternoon.
Laura Williams, network manager at Highways England, said the recovery of the vehicles was complicated by position of the jackknifed lorry
She said the road surface could then need to be re-laid because of a large diesel spill.
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.”
Driver Lee Walker said he had been stuck on the motorway “for about two hours”.
“It’s been pretty bad. The motorway is fully closed and they’re sending everybody off through the Leatherhead area,” she said.
“There is chaos on the surrounding routes.”
Any witnesses or drivers with dashcam footage have been asked to contact Surrey Police.