A war of words erupted on social media as 999 teams tried to help a man threatening to leap from a bridge onto the packed M5 motorway below.
Some motorists left fuming in seven-mile tailbacks posted messages venting their anger.
Others said people should be patient and show sympathy for the person’s plight.
People were stuck in their cars for hours after the M5 was closed in both directions.
The motorway was shut at around 4pm on Friday following concerns for the welfare of a man on a bridge near Junction 28 at Willand, Devon and Cornwall Police said.
The force tweeted: “We appreciate that this is frustrating for our road users and we are doing our best to put in place diversions and to assist those currently stuck. Please bear with us during this incident.”
Furious Twitter users branded some drivers “insensitive” after they posted tweets about the man on the bridge.
One message read: “Several hours for one guy on a bridge? Push him the f*** off or pull him the f*** down.”
Another said: “To the person on the bridge threatening to jump that has shut the whole motorway down, you sir are a massive c***.”
But others stuck in the jams were quick to react. “Well done DC Police,” said one tweet.
“Please ignore the intolerant selfish individuals who complain and lack humanity.”
Another user added: “Honestly can’t believe some of these replies, where is the compassion!?”
At around 8.45pm police said the man was off the bridge and was being supported by mental health professionals.
The force said: “People say things they don’t mean, especially via social media when frustrated. The man in question has been detained under the mental health act and is on his way to hospital for support.”