The driver was headed southbound in the northbound lanes when the 1998 Dodge Integra crashed and caught fire just before 1:30 a.m.
Firefighters arrived to find the car engulfed in flames.
Officials said 43-year-old Leon Roberts of Passaic was pronounced dead at the scene.
John Flannery, 29, of Newark was pulled from the burning vehicle and rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick in critical condition.
The Garden State Parkway's northbound lanes were closed for the investigation, and traffic was diverted to Route 9.
A second accident with no injuries occurred in the northbound lanes because of rubbernecking.
Get Eyewitness News Delivered