Spoilers below for the latest episode of Young Sheldon, titled "Poker, Faith and Eggs."
Since driving scenes add an extra bit of expense and trouble for productions, there are tons of TV characters that have never been seen driving a car. But The Big Bang Theory set up something a little different with Sheldon rarely getting behind the steering wheel, in that he directly refuses to do so. He's had a troubled relationship with driver's licenses for many years, and tonight's episode of Young Sheldon got to the bottom of where that aversion to driving first came into existence. It was all due to a hazardous joy(less) ride with George Jr.
"Poker, Faith and Eggs" brought about the introduction of Annie Potts as Sheldon's beloved Meemaw, and it was indeed in her car where Sheldon first made the mental note to leave driving on life's back burner. Meemaw wasn't the one putting the car through mailboxes and garbage cans, though, with the high schooler George Jr. responsible for the poor job of safely escorting his brother and sister to the hospital. The slow and tediously destructive ride was noted by Sheldon as being the specific reason why he'd never learned to drive a car. Seemed like a bit of an overreaction to a wild ride with an inexperienced driver, but I guess that's as Sheldon-esque as anything else.
It's long been noted within The Big Bang Theory that Sheldon didn't learn anything about driving during his formative teen years. Season 2 had an episode devoted to everyone attempting to force Sheldon into driving, which netted in him getting a permit...that he never used. At another point, he had to drive Penny to the hospital, which led to a whole jail situation after he insulted a judge.
Oddly enough, it was just last year that The Big Bang Theory made Sheldon reveal to Amy that he'd gotten his driver's license two years previous, and that he continued having others cart him around because he liked feeling important with all the chauffeuring. That was already a huge deal, and it throws a weird wrench into how Sheldon narrated things on Young Sheldon. I mean, it's not impossible to obtain a license by only gaining cursory knowledge of how to drive, as opposed to fully learning how to drive, thus technically making the claim true. But that seems like a stretch. On the other hand, though, it would mean Sheldon's narration isn't happening in the most current point of the timeline, which is kind of interesting.
Also interesting, of course, is the fact that Lance Barber's George Cooper Sr. had a heart attack, which is some mighty distressing foreshadowing for the fatal turns coming to Sheldon's family life in the near-ish future. Perhaps the timing of that also plays into why Sheldon avoided cars for most of his life. We'll likely find out one day, since Young Sheldon's ratings are through the roof, meaning it'll likely last forever.