For those of you who wonder why I hate this (&^%$#@ town (others simply call it "Houston") as much as I do, I'd challenge you to spend some time on the freeways with me. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that drivers in Portland are so much friendlier and far more courteous (even though they really, truly are), but I will tell you that they're nowhere near as rude, dismissive, and dangerously aggressive as drivers here in Houston. As large as this area is, and as much driving is required to get anywhere, this is no small consideration. Driving can be, and often is, the four-wheeled equivalent of playing Russian Roulette.
I suppose a lot of it simply frustration. I know this because I feel it myself when I'm on the road. We all share the aggravation of creeping along in stop-and-go traffic when we have to be somewhee at a certain time. We don't all have to take it out on those around us, though.
My assignment here requires a lot of drive time. While I'm not doing the 175-200 miles per day that I was on my first trip here, I'm still driving 125-150 miles each and every day. Much of that driving is in stop and go traffic, watching impatient, aggressive, and just plain inconsiderate, mean-spirited drivers weave in and out of lanes as if the road was their personal playground. People who outside of a motor vehicle are probably perfectly decent human beings become complete @$$wipes behind the wheel. I can't tell you how many times I've been cut off by aggressive, inconsiderate drivers, including several times that left me marveling and wondering how and why I hadn't been hit. At 60+ MPH, this is not something one should take lightly.
I've noticed a pronounced difference in my stress level driving here as opposed to driving in Portland. Yes, Portland has traffic, but it's nothing like the clusterf--ks you'll find on a regular basis here in Houston. I can sense the frustration rising in me as I'm driving, and I can only imagination that is multiplied by all the other thousands of drivers sharing the freeways with me. Some folks deal with it effectively, and some don't. It's the ones who don't that scare me. One day, one of the idjits who normally barely miss me may not...and that scares the Hell out of me.
When people ask me if I miss Houston and if I'd ever consider moving back here, I close my eyes, put myself on a freeway for just a moment...and then it all comes back to me. No, I wouldn't. I'm here for work, and when I'm done I'm going back home to Portland, where driving isn't such an exercise in self-preservation, and where automobiles don't double as offensive weapons.
I hope that you'll pardon the over-generalization here, but Houston drivers suck; there's just no other way to put it. If you take offense at that, I'm sorry, but I lived here for 3277 days and I think I know of which I speak. My time back here in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike has only confirmed my prior experience. Driving in Houston is bad enough, but the difficulty is complicated by those who simply cannot or will not play well with others when they're behind the wheel of an automobile. If I didn't have to drive, perhaps I'd feel differently about being here. I do, however, have to drive. A lot. And that is part and parcel of why I hate the (&^%$#@ town.
One of the more comical signs you'll see along Texas highways is a reminder from the state Department of Transportation: "DRIVE FRIENDLY". Yeah, right; most drivers in Houston would cut out your heart and stomp on it's still-beating form as you lay dying if it meant they could cut in front of you in traffic. Drive friendly, my @$$....