Police said that the back-up stretched for more than 9 miles at one point. Traffic video showed the congestion going back to the junction of I-40 and U.S. 15-501.
Heather Poole, 36, was traveling eastbound on I-40 when she lost control of the vehicle around 5:45 pm, said officers.
Her vehicle traveled into the median, crashed through the cable barrier and was struck head-on by a semi-truck, officers said.
Police closed one westbound land and one eastbound lane for around an hour.
Poole was airlifted to UNC Hospitals, where she was in good condition early Saturday morning, according to police.