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Its possible that this is a normal function for your car. They don't want you to use your daytime running lights at night because they are much dimmer than the standard headlights, so there is a sensor (usually near or in the windshield) that detects if it is dark outside. If its dark outside, the daytime running lights will not function, forcing you to use the standard headlights.
Head light have two relays.one for daytime and one for normal night. the daytime switching the light to serial circuit and if one bulb is out down both Leigh quit working. Inspect your light high and low beam for normal operation . Inspect your fuses . Swap the daytime relay with identical one.and under the dash is module for daytime running light. inspect the red/black wire for ground from light switch and light blue/ yellow for power from 15A ECU-B fuse
Theres a sensor in the middle of the dash by the front windshield that detects sunlight and triggers the automatic headlights. The main headlights and daytime running lights might be on a different circuit, in which case they daytime running lamps would turn off at night and the main headlights would turn on, indicating the main headlights arent working and the daytime running lamps are working as intended.
I would check all the fuses related to headlights, check the bulbs and check the switch, then last the light sensor on the dash.
Your Corolla has daytime running lights (DRLs). A photocell determines whether it is day or night. Your DRLs turn on automatically in daytime without you operating the light control ("headlight") switch. Your DRLs are actually your headlights on low beam. At night, the photocell senses it is dark and disables the DRLs. When you set the light control ("headlight") switch to HEAD, the head relay closes and the headlights should turn on. Since they don't, I suggest opening the engine room junction block and checking the 40A MAIN fuse and the 10A LEFT HEAD (UPPER) and RIGHT HEAD (UPPER) fuses. In engine room relay block 5, check the 10A LH-LWR HEAD and RH-LWR HEAD fuses. Replace any blown fuses and the headlights should be working normally again
If you are stating the headlights only work while in gear (during the day or night) then they are your daytime running lights. Don;t know if you vehicle has automatic headlights or a manual switch. If you are stating you turn the headlights on and they only illuminate while in gear then there are other issues. Let me know