Amid claims road conditions are “worsening” the county council said it has increased its highways budget and fixed thousands of potholes.

In response to claims by the RAC half a million potholes were reported to local authorities last year, Hertfordshire County Council said today it has dedicated an extra £40m to road improvements and fixed almost 24,000 potholes in 2018.

The breakdown company said it was “shocked” by the data it found after making a Freedom of Information request to the 212 councils responsible for Britain’s roads.

The RAC extrapolated the numbers from more than 512,000 potholes reported to the 161 authorities who provided comparable figures which were up 44 per cent on the 2015 number of 356,000 from 152 councils.

The RAC believes the increase in pothole reports over two years is 33 per cent.

Hertfordshire County Council said its highways team was busy patching and resurfacing the county’s roads ahead of winter to prevent potholes from forming.

As well as fixing potholes, they have jet-patched 36,000 meters squared of road to fix smaller problems and given 1,000 sections of road a new surface.

Damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels are among the most common vehicle problems caused by potholes.

RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes said: "Our own analysis of breakdown data shows the damage suffered by motorists is a constant source of frustration and expense, but the scale of the problem is obviously far greater than the numbers show.

"Perhaps motorists are more inclined to report pothole defects than they were a few years ago, but we believe the sheer size of the increase is further proof the condition of our roads is worsening."

He added that the figures are "just the tip of the iceberg" as thousands of potholes go unreported every year.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's (LGA) transport spokesman, said councils are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds but need more funding to "embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed".

In the last budget, the Treasury announced that they will allocate £420m to local authorities in 2018-19 to fix potholes on roads.

At the time, Cllr Phil Bibby, cabinet member for highways and environment, said: “We welcome the announcement of an additional £420m to spend on repairing potholes after the particularly harsh winter. Any additional funding support will bolster our programme to resurface local roads in Hertfordshire.

“Hertfordshire County Council recognises that more money needs to be spent on roads and has increased its highways budget with over £40m being spent on over 1,000 road improvement schemes across Hertfordshire’s 3,000 miles of road.”