Paul Mullen, of Washington, was driving a Toyota Hilux when he suffered fatal injuries in the incident.
The 51-year-old leaves behind his partner and three children.
In a statement, his family said: “Our hearts are broken. Life will never be the same again.
“He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”
The incident happened at 6.20pm on the northbound carriageway of the A1(M) at Bowburn.
It involved four cars and two lorries, one of which caught fire as a result of the collision.
A man and a woman, who were in a Vauxhall Crossland, also died at the scene.
The families are being supported by specially trained officers.
A 41-year-old man – the driver of one of the lorries – was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has been released on bail.
An online portal has been set up by police to allow people to submit information in relation to the incident, as well as dashcam footage and photographs.
To submit material, please visit https://mipp.police.uk and click on the Durham Constabulary tile.