Lancashire Police shared shocking dash-cam footage of the incident, which happened near Rivington Services at around 12.30am on Wednesday (August 14).
Officers were called to a stretch of carriageway between southbound junctions 8 (Chorley) and 6 (Horwich Interchange), after motorists reported a man running across three lanes of traffic.
Motorway police were swiftly mobilised and officers soon found an abandoned car on the hard shoulder near Rivington Services.
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Police notified Highways and an 8-mile stretch of the southbound and northbound M61 was immediately shut to safeguard the individual.
Officers patrolled the carriageway searching for the vehicle's owner and soon spotted a man crossing the carriageway and running along lane 2 in the pitch dark.
Police pulled onto the hard shoulder and apprehended the man. A roadside drug test revealed that the man had been under the influence of illegal drugs.
A 26-year-old man from Manchester has been arrested on suspicion of drug driving and for being a pedestrian on a motorway.
A spokesman for Lancashire Road Police said: "Can you see this pedestrian? Incredibly lucky not to have been killed after abandoning his car on the M61 services, crossing the carriageway twice and running down lane 2.
"If you were stuck in the closures, we hope this justifies it. You wouldn't see him at 70mph."
Can you spot him?