A motorist was lucky to escape serious injury after a New Year's Day crash on the M53 left his car so severely crushed that firefighters struggled cut him out.
Only the man's BMW was involved in the collision which damaged a 40 feet length of crash barrier on the outside of the northbound carriageway between Little Stanney and Ellesmere Port.
Fire crews, who were called at 5.49am, found the driver, in his 40s, trapped by his leg and conscious but apparently relatively unscathed.
But a Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman explained that the extrication on the hard shoulder proved extremely challenging because the car was so badly crushed they struggled to get a purchase with their hydraulic cutting equipment.
Once released, the driver was taken to hospital by ambulance for an assessment. One firefighter said: "He was a very lucky man."
A commuter on his way to work stopped to help and rang 999. Firefighters believe the design of the BWW, which had absorbed the impact of the collision and incorporated several airbags, was a major factor in preventing more serious injury.
Police closed the northbound carriageway of the motorway and set up diversions.