Four tractor-trailer drivers face charges following a "chain-reaction" crash that shut down Highway 401 near Chatham for hours Thursday.

The five-vehicle crash happened in a construction zone near Communication Road after a truck travelling east stopped, causing the tractor-trailer behind to slam into it, stated OPP Const. Jay Denorer in a media release. A third transport truck collided with the second tractor-trailer, sandwiching it between the two trucks and two other vehicles also joined the pile-up.

A 51-year-old Brampton driver has been charged with careless driving, while a 69-year-old Windsor man and 35-year-old St. Thomas man face charges for following too closely.

401 Crash, chatham

Two other vehicles crashed into the back of a transport truck that had already struck two other trucks on Highway 401 near Chatham Thursday afternoon. (Kimberly Juras)

While the highway was shut down in both directions a Scarborough driver attempted to turn his tractor-trailer around using the centre median, according to provincial police.

After becoming stuck, the 25-year-old and his vehicle had to be removed, causing more delays, said Denorer.

That driver has been charged with careless driving, failure to maintain a daily log and failure to enter required information in a daily log.

Collision happened after warning from police

The multi-truck collision came just days after the OPP issued a strong warning to drivers, cautioning them to be extra careful while travelling through the accident-prone stretch of highway.

"Drivers should be prepared for possible delays in these areas and plan accordingly," said Denorer at the time. "Drivers should remain vigilant at all times, particularly in construction zones where inattention behind the wheel can lead to tragic consequences."