Emergency services say the driver was seriously injured when her car collided with a lorry as she drove south between junctions 31 and 30, at 3.30pm.
It caused disruption on the carriageway, with police on the scene for well over two hours.
Police confirmed that the woman was taken to hospital after the collision, which caused major tailbacks.
It was one of a number of incidents which have seen disruption on the M1, with more incidents reported over night.
Police said the motorway was also closed briefly at 12.45am last night after a collision on the northbound carriageway, which did not involve serious injuries.
And Highways England reported disruption between junctions 32 and 33 after a road traffic collision in the early hours of Saturday, with traffic sent along the M18 whilst it deal with the vehicles involved.