The road rage capital? It's not New York City

Michael Strong, CNBC contributor

Rage on the road isn't limited to one part of the United States, but the cities best known for having vehicularly irate drivers last year have made a concerted effort to clean up their act, according to a recent survey.

Houston displaced New York as the city with the least courteous drivers, according to AutoVantage's annual "In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey." New York City didn't even appear in the top five on this year's list.

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Only one city—Atlanta—that was in last year's top five showed up there again in 2014. Atlanta was rated fourth in 2013 and moved up to second this year.

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Drivers in "Hotlanta" earned their reputations as angry drivers by being most likely to hit another vehicle on purpose, as well as being home to the most speeders and tailgaters.

Houston was not in the top five last year, and moved up seven spots from the original survey in 2009. Among the factors that catapulted the Space City to the No. 1 spot, when compared to drivers in other cities, survey participants in Houston were:

  • Most likely to see another driver cutting them off and most likely to admit performing this behavior
  • Most likely to see someone else slam on their brakes
  • Most likely to admit talking on their phones while driving
Airline satisfaction takes off
Airline satisfaction takes off

The winner of the most courteous driver category was Portland, Oregon, for the second straight year. It remained in the top spot because its drivers were:

  • Least likely to honk the horn at another driver
  • Least likely to have been speeding
  • Least likely to have seen other drivers cutting between lanes without warning

Baltimore's drivers went into a tailspin compared with last year's survey. After finishing third on the "most courteous" list in 2013, the city finished third on the "least courteous" side of the ranking this year.

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The swing can be attributed to the city's drivers being the most likely to use an obscene gesture while driving.

For the full rankings, see the AutoVantage survey.

—By CNBC contributor Michael Strong.