The pilot, Joseph Arseneau of Sudbury, Ont., 62, was heading to the Sarnia airport with four family members when he lost contact with Toronto air traffic control.
He was flying blind in the dark after the battery to his radio and navigation equipment went dead, said Sarnia police.
Using a cellphone Arseneau called police around 9:50 p.m. who determined his location using landmarks on the ground.
Police were guiding him to the Sarnia airport when he told them he was about to run out of fuel and wouldn't make it.
The Piper Lance plane touched down in the westbdound lanes of Highway 402 and was involved in a minor collision when one of its wings clipped a van, said Staff Sgt. Chris Oram.
Police and paramedics went to the scene and found no one on the plane was injured, he said.
The 40-year-old van driver, Elizabeth Goodall, of Sarnia, and her four passengers were also not hurt.
The highway was closed for several hours until the plane was removed from the highway.
"Thank goodness that nobody was hurt. That's 10 lives... I get goosebumps just thinking about it," said Judy Ryan of Huron Flight Centre in Sarnia.
"The plane could have gone up on flames. There could have been 10 fatalities."
Transport Canada is investigating.