Two lanes on the southbound carriageway were closed for hours after the accident, which happened near junction 28 for Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. There are 10 miles of queues, almost back to junction 30 for north Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Traffic is also slow northbound due to onlookers. Tailbacks on that carriageway have reached junction 27 for Eastwood and Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.
Emergency services have rushed to the scene of the accident, reports Derbyshire Live.
The extent of any injuries has not yet been confirmed by Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire Police.
Local roads are also congested as drivers leave the M1 in attempt to avoid the queues.
Some are exiting at junction 30, taking the A619 westbound and A61 southbound through Chesterfield itself. The A61 is busy between Chesterfield and Alfreton, Derbyshire, where drivers are using the A38 eastbound to reach the M1 at junction 28 for Mansfield.
And some drivers on the northbound carriageway are leaving at junction 27 to join the A608 eastbound. They are then using local roads through Kirkby in Ashfield and the A38 westbound at Sutton-in-Ashfield to rejoin the motorway at junction 28.
Elsewhere in the Midlands, the M42 is congested after a multi-vehicle crash in rush hour.
One lane is currently closed on the southbound carriageway between J10 for Tamworth, Staffordshire, and J9 for Curdworth, Warwickshire.
Traffic officers are in attendance at the scene but drivers are being urged to stay away and find alternative routes.