Motorists hoping to avoid an accident and a car insurance claim abandoned their vehicles on Tuesday night as England was hit by freezing weather and snow.
The emergency services drafted in the help of the Armed Forces to free up to 1,000 vehicles which were stranded on the A3(M) trunk road at Waterlooville, Hampshire.
Many drivers stayed in their cars overnight or were evacuated to rescue centres as military trucks and Land Rovers tried to reach the motorists.
Hampshire Police spokeswoman Sarah Julian said: "Between 600 and 1,000 vehicles were caught up in eight- to 10-mile tailbacks with many owners remaining with their vehicles for several hours.
"Police have been patrolling this route with military and fire service personnel in order to provide reassurance and offer them the option of being evacuated to nearby rescue centres."
One motorist, named only as Clive, who was stranded in his car whilst trying to travel from Guildford to Locks Heath, told BBC Radio Solent: "There must be hundreds and hundreds of cars stuck. People have been just turning their engines off and falling asleep.
"I just pulled a couple of jackets over me and tried to sleep.
"The worst thing was no-one knew what was going on."
Military personnel from Thorney Island, Southwick Park and Aldershot were involved.
© Press Association 2009