The huge backup near Frankfurt an der Oder signalled the start of the Easter traffic weekend in style after an accident involving three trucks closed the A12 motorway for nearly 12 hours.
One truck driver was trapped in his vehicle for nearly four hours, although was not seriously injured.
But one truck involved had been carrying a load of candles, which meant that even when the road was cleared, traffic could only drive at a maximum speed of 40 kilometres per hour.
Even after police reopened the affected stretch of road, the traffic jam continued to grow as people kept bumping into each other in the fast lane as they tried to push past the crawling vehicles.
Drivers in other areas of northern Germany also ran into problems with four kilometres of stop-and-go traffic on the northern-headed side of the Elbe tunnel in Hamburg, and up to eight kilometres of jam moving ever so slowly in the other direction.