Potholes are forcing drivers and insurers to shell out at least £1m a month on repair bills, the AA has found.
The number of pothole-related claims has soared this year, with more during the first four months of 2018 than the whole of 2017.
Across the UK there will have been more than 4,200 claims for pothole damage so far this year compared with just over 3,500 estimated claims last year, the motoring organisation claimed.
It described the number of potholes as an “epidemic” and a “national embarrassment”.
An average repair bill is estimated at about £1,000, meaning the total this year is “an eye-watering” £4.2m, the AA said.
That equals to more than £1m a month, where drivers consider they have no option but to make an insurance claim.
Janet Connor, the AA’s insurance director, said: “In most cases the damage caused by a pothole – a ruined tyre or even two tyres and perhaps a wheel rim – doesn’t justify making an insurance claim given that it is likely to lead to the loss of your excess and no-claim bonus. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.
“Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car, breaking axles and occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp-post.
“This year we are seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as: ‘car severely damaged and un-driveable’ which didn’t happen at all last year.
“The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace.”
An AA survey of more than 17,000 people found 88% of drivers think roads are in a worse state now than a decade ago.
Ms Connor added: “Local council budgets have been squeezed to the extent that competing priorities mean they don’t have the resources to keep their roads up to scratch.
“Our nation’s highways have become a national embarrassment.”
The AA has launched a campaign called #FlagitFunditFillit to highlight a need “to invest in reversing the shocking deterioration of Britain’s roads”.
Some of the worst pothole damages include a car getting stuck in a crater and one filled with rainwater which broke a car’s steering, the AA said.
The organisation urged drivers to flag potholes to the highway authority responsible so they know it exists.
Photograph the potholes and send them in via social media, it said.
The AA is also calling on the Government to ring-fence 2p per litre of current fuel duty to create a £1bn pothole fund for local councils.
Councillor Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Councils are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds and keeping roads safe is one of the most important jobs we do.
“However, only long-term, consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed.”
A Highways England spokeswoman said: “We know that drivers want and deserve good quality, safe roads and since 2015 when Highways England was created, we have replaced more than 4,400 miles of road surface.
“Safety is at the centre of everything we do, which is why we set stringent standards for pothole repairs and also regularly inspect our roads to help reduce the potential for potholes.”
And a Department for Transport spokesman said the Government is “investing a record £23bn on our roads to improve journeys”.
Technology is also being looked at to help councils fix potholes and save money doing it.