I'm in Texas, too, and although there are plenty of obnoxious drivers here, it really isn't as big a problem as in some places. Around here, it's standard to wave a thank-you to someone who lets you into a lane, or an apology to the person behind you if you've had to make a sudden move. Putting on your turn signal will cause some people to speed up to keep you from getting into their lane -- but many more will ease off and let you in. And if you don't notice when a light changes, you're more likely to get a cheery little double-tap on the horn than a nasty ol' honnnnnnk.
But I've noticed a big difference in attitudes depending on which car I drive. My parents's car is a recent Grand Marquis with a Purple Heart license plate (for my father's injury in WWII), and people are usually very courteous to us when we're in that car. Sometimes we even come back after shopping and find a note on the windshield saying, "Thank you for your service to our country!"
car is an older Sable with hail damage and a DEMOCRAT bumper sticker on the back. People are always changing lanes and jockeying for position to try to get around me -- and I'm not sure whether it's because they assume old car, slow driver
(which I'm not) or because they're rabid rightwingers who just want to get in front of me to show off their "W" stickers!
But that's in the DFW Metroplex, where everybody's overloaded. When I get out into the outlying areas, two-lane roads, no traffic... everything changes. You see a car approaching from the other direction and you raise two fingers from the wheel and give 'em a smile, as if to say, "Here we both are, pretty day, hi there!" It's so nice.
Through working with a franchisor for years, I've known dozens of people from "back east" who are just floored
by how pleasant people in Texas are, on and off the road... so I think it is indeed a real phenomenon. But why? It's a great question.
I wonder if it could be traced all the way back to pioneer times, when people were scattered so thin out here that life was difficult and fragile, and they really needed
each other to survive. Maybe the principle of extending kindness to your neighbor took hold then, and has simply been passed down by example from generation to generation...?