The AA says that research among its members underlines the extent to which road hazards such as potholes are under-reported.

Nearly three quarters of AA members have swerved to avoid a pothole but only a fifth have ever reported one, new AA-Populus research reveals.

A survey of 25,208 AA members in mid-February also found that half of them let councils off the hook by not reporting bad potholes on the roads near where they live.

Most active in reporting potholes are the Scots and drivers in the South East, both with 22% having reported a pothole in the past. Least active are those in London, with 14% reporting, against an average of 19%.

A major part of the problem is that many drivers (41%) do not know enough about how to report them.

Many local authorities now have easy to use pot-hole reporting systems on their websites and the AA urges drivers to use them.

If a bad pothole is not reported, and damage to a vehicle occurs, the highway authority may escape paying compensation, but if the pothole had been reported and the highways authority has not taken action a driver might stand a better chance of getting compensation.

AA president Edmund King said: “Despite recent relatively mild winters and promises that Britain’s pothole epidemic would be reversed it remains a serious concern for drivers. We know from our research that two out of five drivers have suffered pot-hole damage in the last two years which is shocking.

“It is clear local authorities need to do more to inform drivers of their reporting systems and policies. It is also important for drivers to bear in mind that they can do their bit too by reporting potholes. This increases the chance of preventing damage, a possible crash and casualties, and getting compensation.”