Adam Afsar and Jason Wilby were found dead in a white Skoda Octavia when police arrived at the scene shortly after 2:30am.
Police had earlier fielded calls that a vehicle had been driving in the wrong direction down the M62; travelling eastbound on the westbound carriageway at Junction 26.
A 22-year-old man was arrested at the scene for causing death by dangerous driving but was later released pending further investigation.
On Facebook, Thornhill-based firm Harris Pet Transport confirmed that one of their drivers was killed in the incident.
They said: “Last night we lost one of our drivers & his friend in the horrific M62 motorway accident. Our deepest condolences to the deceased’s family & friends. This is an extremely difficult time and we pray they rest in peace.”
Reports on social media suggested that the pair were best friends, with one commenter describing them as ‘inseparable’.
Within a few hours of the accident social media was saturated with hundreds of tributes and messages of condolence.
A Go Fund Me fundraising page hoping to provide financial support to the pair’s families collected nearly Â£5,000 within its first 24 hours. It aims to reach Â£10,000 and can be found at www.gofundme.com/greavence-fund-support
Anyone with any information about the collision is asked to contact the police via 101 quoting log number *212 of 2 April.