A furious husband got behind the wheel and chased his wife on to a motorway before ramming her from behind at 70mph to send them both crashing into the hard shoulder.
Irate Michael Ward, 26, drove "like a madman" as he dodged in and out of rush hour traffic while pursuing his wife Violet, with whom he was having marital issues.
Ward then smashed his van into the back of her Vauxhall Astra, causing the vehicle to jerk forward and Violet, who was winded by the impact, to bounce around in her seat.
Incredibly no road users were injured in the incident and both motorists involved in the collision came to a stop at the side of the M61, Bolton Crown Court heard.
The court was told Ward and Violet were childhood sweethearts and had been married for 10 years with three children when they began having marital issues last year.
Alison Mather, prosecuting, said Violet moved out of their family home in Oswaldtwistle, near Blacburn, Lancs., to go and live with her grandfather in Salford.
On October 7 while Ward was out of the house, the court was told, Violet took the opportunity to collect her belongings before heading back towards Salford.
At that time the mum-of-three was unaware her husband had been told of her movements by his own mother, who lives next door to the marital home.
At 5.10pm while travelling on the M61 in Bolton Violet saw Ward's transit van behind her.
Miss Mather said: "He hit the rear of her car. She was travelling at about 70mph.
"It caused her car to jerk forward, she felt winded as she was bounced around in her seat."
Violey tried to escape her husband by changing lanes but he continued to stay close behind her, calling her on his mobile phone as he drove, it was heard.
In the fast lane Ward's van pulled in front of her and suddenly stopped, forcing her to stop as well, the court was told.
Miss Mather said: "She describes herself as being surprised she wasn't killed."
Mrs Ward pulled onto the hard shoulder where her husband got out of his van and began hammering on the car window.
She was "terrified" and heard to tell Ward, "you've caused all of this," it was heard.
The court heard since the incident Violet has retracted her statement and the couple are now back together.
Mohammed Latif, defending, stressed Ward, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, works hard to support his family and has not been in trouble before or since the incident.
He said: "There is genuine remorse and shame for his behaviour on that particular day."
Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Ward to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered him to participate in 20 days of rehabilitation activities and he must pay £250 towards prosecution costs.
He was also banned from driving for 12 months.
The judge said: "In ordinary circumstances you are a pleasant, peaceable, caring individual that does right by your family.
"To some extent you are shocked to find yourself in this court as a defendant."
The judge added that not jailing him immediately had been "a close run thing."
He said: "I hope you don't let your family down. I hope you don't let the court down."